Our Lady of the Sacred Heart

Relations are very important; psychology teaches that relations are essential for personal development. Insofar as they are the relations of mother and son, then the relationship between Jesus and Mary is unique: only she was the mother of Jesus, and he is Divine as well as human. And so we can call her the Mother of God because her Son Jesus Christ is God (Council of Ephesus) Spirituality of the Heart

a. The relationship of Jesus and mary on the level of their personal life

'Hail, full of grace' (Lk 1: 28)

In all relations in which God is involved, the initiative comes from the side of God. The first words directed to mary in Scripture are : 'Hail, full of grace,' or, more literally: 'Rejoice, O highly favoured.' From the begining of her existence mary was highly favoured, loved, chosen, prepared for her mission, and made most gracious by God. Guided by the Spirit, she continued to grow as daughter of Sion, so that because of her we can say that the stage was set for the birth of the Messiah. 'Fiat!' (Lk 1: 38)

When Mary was invited to become the Mother of the Messiah, she was ready: 'Bwhold the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done to me...' Her 'fait' was the acceptance of her callng and mission. It was the expression of her commitment to be jesus' Mother. And as jesus' life unfold, her commitment continued to grow, for at first it was far from clear what was involved.

A Virgin-Mother

When Jesus was born, Mary decided herself to him with her whole heart. It is beautiful to think that Mary and Joseph together decided to live a virgin life for the sake of this child, so that their virginity has a Cristological significance: they were the first two Christian virgins. Jesus was their greatest love and concern; he was the central meaning of their lives/ If we may understand Mary's virginity in this way, it sets her free for her function to be Jesus' Mother. Motherhood far transcends the biological level. Mary gave Jesus his humanity: through Mary, Jesus was enabled to become the incarnation of divine love. Mary taught him to love. She had an important role in Jesus' human development in all aspects, including the religious aspect.

It was fro her that Jesus learned to pray to his heavenly Father. Before mary became Jesus' disciple, Jesus was first the disciple of mary. In fact, in a sense they owed each other everything. It was Mary's privilege and joy to discover the perfection of jesus' heart: his gracious love, his awakening passion for the kingdom of his Father. Only glimpses have been revealed of jesus' hidden life, and of Mary's life with him. Most attention is given to her faith: 'Blessed is she who believed!' (Lk 1: 45)

Since she pondered in her heart whatever she learnd about her Son, her faith grew marvellously, and she obtained an intimate knowledge of mystery of her Son. It is mentioned that she wondered at the things that were said about him (Lk 2: 33), that she was worried when she had lost him in Jerusalem (Lk 2: 48), and that she could not understand why he stayed behind without telling his parents. there was darkness too in her life (Lk 2: 51).

b. Mary's association with Jesus in his mission

What we have said so far about Our lady (her fiat, her faith, her virginal motherhood) prepared the ground for the next step: her involvement in Jesus' mission, her cooperation in the work of redemption. Mary is not only Jesus' Mother; she was and is also his associate. So we have to reflect now on her partnership with her son in his redemptive task, for that too is part of the mystery of her relatuonship, her union with him.

1 The New Eve

People have often wondered about the fact that Jesus adderessed his mother sometimes as 'woman'. Through it was customary at that time to address a woman that way; it was not customary for a son to address his mother with that title. At Cana Jesus said: 'Woman, why turn to me? My hour has not come yet' (Jn 2: 4)

And on Calvary: 'Woman, this is your son' (Jn 19: 26). I think that we can find the key to the solution of that problem in another work from Johannine thought, (Rv 12).

There we read about 'a woman, adorned with the sun, standing on the moon, and with twelve stars on her head for a crown. she was pregnant and in labour,'while a huge red dragon was waiting to snatch the child from her. The child that is born is clearly the Messiah.

This vision is an enlarged version of the proto-gospel (Gn 3: 15): 'I will make you enemies of each other, you and the woman, your offspring and her offspring. It will crush your head and you will strike its heel.' These words were addressed to Eve and the Tempter. Jesus is the offspring of the woman that crushes the Tempter's head; Mary is the woman, the new Eve, who shares in the victory. It is true that the woman in Rv 12 refers primarily to Mother Church, as the exegetes explain, but a secondary, Mariological sense is not to be excluded, as Raymond Brown holds.

Here, in fact, we find Mary as the archetype of Mother Church. She is the new Woman, the new Eve, sharing in Jesus' suffereings, sharing in his victory, as Eve had shared in the fall. Jesus and Mary: the new Adam and the new Eve. That is the mystery of Mary's title 'Woman'. As the first Adam and Eve were the source of our broken human existence, so the new Adam and the new Eve are the source of the new life in the Spirit. They were closely united in their personal life; they were also closely united in the paschal mystry, in the redeption of the world, in the outpouring of the Spirit. As Jesus was the Servant of the Lord, so was Mary the Handmaid o the Lord, ready to obey, to serve, and to suffer.

2 Mary's sufferings

It was Simeon who first pointed out to Mary that she would have to suffer: 'He is destined for the fall and for the resurrection of many in Israel, destined to be a sign that is rejected and a sword will pierce your own soul too' (Lk 2: 34-35). The general context of this suffering seems to be the rejection of her Son. She must have experienced this rejection deeply during the last year of Jesus' public life, but the culminating point came when she stood beneath the cross, united with him in his sufferings. If Jesus had to learn obedience through suffering so had Mary. By her faithfulness, her strength, her sufferings and her prayer, she became the Mother of the Church. Her prayerful heart had to be pierced, to be a worthy compassion of the Man with the pierced Heart.

3 Mother, the archetype of the Church

Mary's divine motherhood developed into universal motherhood. In a sense she is already the mother of us all because she gave Christ to the world. But that is not all. She was associated as well with her Son in his work of redemption, in his epiphany, in his obedience, in his sufferings. And by her prayer she obtained for us the gift of the holy Spirit who brought the Church to life. Vatican II has developed the idea that in all this Mary is the archetype of the Church (Lumen Gentium art. 63-65). The Church too is our Mother, obtaining for us the gift of the Spirit, especially in baptism and confirmation. The Church too is the new Eve, born from the side of the new Adam when he splept on the cross. from Mary, the Church can learn how to remain closely united with the lord in her mission, how to be the Mother of the faithful, how to praise the Lord, and how to serve the poor. From Mary, the Church must learn how to be the new Eve, how to live in close union with Christ in complete dedication as virgin-mother, how to suffer with him, to work with him, to obtain the gift of the Spirit from him. Now what is true of the Church as such is somewhat true also od the individual members of the Church. all Christians are called to learn from her to enter personally into a life of close uion with Christ, to look upon the one whom they have pierced, to share his mission of renewing the world by love.

4 Sharing Jesus' Lordship

we believe that Our lady continues to live in umion with her Son after her Association. She continues to love him as her Son; she shares in his Lordship as Queen; she shares in his intercession as Mediatrix. That is why we continue to pray to her. But it is good to note mary's path to this glory in the Scripture: the way of the humble Handmaid of Nazareth, the unadorned picture of Mary the first believer and faithful disciple, the suffering Mother. The knowledge of her continued presence now gives us hope and strength; the knowledge of her courageous and gracious life on earth shows the way. Her life on earth was not glorious according to secular standards, but most glorious in the eyes of God. From Our Lady of the sacred Heart we learn to live in union with her Son: in personal communion, and in association with his mission. from her we learn to accept our calling and mission generously, and to reamain faithful when the cross appears. Sharing the mystery of her union with her Son, we will come to know the source of living water that renews the world.