A Lady Called Eve

The woman clothed with the sun, with the moon at her feet and the crown of twelve stars on her forehead—she, like all the rest of us, is a child of Eve. Mary is crowned in Scripture with all the ornaments of the universe, the greatest marks of power and privilege after a lifetime of hidden prayer and long labor in the vineyard of the Lord, tending to the shoot growing from Jesse’s stem, laboring faithfully to make possible a great harvest in the Church and in the world.

This child of Eve, this woman hailed by an angel as full of grace, highly favored by God, worked and waited in response to God’s grace, God’s divine initiative, and as a result, brought forth a bountiful harvest. Rightly do we call her Mother of All the Living. Eve gave to her children natural life and supernatural death. Mary gives to her children supernatural life and the one who defeats death. Mary, then, is the New Eve, from whose side the New Adam is taken so that he in turn may pour forth life from his side, blood and water from the wound of the lance, which inaugurate the sacraments of the Church.

Mary is the new Eve, and Mother of All the Living in the new and eternal creation. She opens the door for God’s breath the come into the world, the Holy Spirit to inspire and in-dwell, in-habit, in-breathe the grace and glory of the Lord to all the corners of the created order. Mary lets God into the world, and lets the world into God, into the triune life. Through Jesus Christ, we have participation in the divine life—by grace, not by nature. By the incarnation, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity taking on human nature and becoming fully man, we have access to eternal life through our humanity. And Jesus came into this world through the fiat of daughter Zion, of Israel, and finally of Israel’s greatest daughter. “To Jesus through Mary,” said St. Louis de Montfort. “No Mary, no Jesus,” said Mother Teresa. “And no Jesus, no Mary.”

By Mary’s ‘”yes,” God comes in and pitches his tent to dwell with us, to love us and enliven us, to sanctify and secure us in the kingdom for all eternity. And by Mary’s “yes,” we may go into the divine life of utter self gift at the heart of the Trinity, the ongoing cataracting rush of love between the three Persons. For she said the “yes” of a bride, of a spouse, to God’s proposal of marriage—for in what other context could they have a child? She gave herself to him, and he gave himself to her—she, the daughter of the Father, the spouse of the Spirit, and the Mother of the Son.

She said “yes,” and God came pouring in—not just to her, but to all things. By Christ’s incarnation, all things shall be made new. All the world is redeemed, and groans with labor pains until the consummation of all things. Grace comes through Jesus, all grace. No grace has passed into the created order save through the Son of Man who is the Son of God—and the Son of God passed, in his entirety, through Mary to come into the created order as a man. Through the “yes” given by Mary, sacramentality comes—the capacity of nature to communicate, to mediate God’s grace, which is his power and presence, his life and love. She is the seat of wisdom, the ark of the covenant overshadowed by the shekina, the cloud of the glory of God.

And as she was overshadowed, as she was full of grace, so too are sacramentals overshadowed and full of grace. As matter mediated divinity when her body provided the flesh and blood for the gestation of the Son of Man, so too do water and oil serve as the medium for the message of salvation, the performative word of God which really enacts what it signifies. As Mary’s donated flesh and blood mediated the Logos to the world, so too can the fruits of the earth mediate the Real Presence to us now in the Eucharist. As Mary has done, so now does the Church, and the created order.

As Mary, the Mother of All the Living, has given herself entirely to God and been repaid with the greatest gift God could give—Himself–so then must the living, the children of the covenants of Adam and the New Adam, also pour ourselves out to God, that he might come in again, light overcoming darkness. Pour yourselves out, so that the world becomes Marian, becomes maternal, fecund with life natural and supernatural, mediating the divine life and love through graced human life and love, opening history out to transcendental hope once again.

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