Mary as the exemplar of true destiny

Mary gives us a vocation which is to become the place of God’s inhabitation, as through her agreement to become the place of God she offers the possibility that the world could also become a place of God’s indwelling in all living things.

Donald Allchin returns to the title of his book when he writes that Mary is called the joy of all creation, because the whole creation finds its possibility of fulfilment in her. In her this world reveals its true quality, as the good earth, the land of promise, the place where God’s blessing descends in its fullness – it’s then clear why May as the month of blossoms and leaf growth represents her so well.

‘An attitude of contemplative openness and delight before the gifts of God, a recognition of our own creaturely limitations and fragility, above all a certain awe and respect before the mysteries of existence … Only in the rediscovery of such attitudes, which are symbolized in the person of Mary … shall we begin to find a resolution of the urgent ecological problems which confront us, as a result of our inhuman rapacity and greed.’

It’s worth noting that this was written in 1984 and revised in 1993 but so many years later how much more does our world need the example of Mary towards God’s creation. For many and especially amongst those who are oppressed Mary has been the figure who gives life and courage: She is one in whom powers and dominations are brought down and the insignificance of the humble is exalted, in whom the world becomes fit for human and divine habitation.

For Thomas Merton, Mary is a model of simplicity and hiddenness, and in the late 1950s he commissioned a statue of the Mother and Child for the novitiate library at Gethsemani from an Ecuadorian sculptor Jaime Andrade. He asked for Mary to be as ‘the Indian woman of the Andes, the representative of all that is most abject, forgotten, despised, and put aside.’ In the final section of Merton’s prose poem Hagia Sophia which is set on the Feast of the Visitation Merton writes how Mary is the personal manifestation of Sophia – God’s own wisdom.

It is she, it is Mary, Sophia, who in sadness and joy, with the full awareness of what she is doing, sets upon the Second Person, the Logos, a crown which is His Human Nature. Thus her consent opens the door of created nature, of time, of history, to the Word of God.