“She is the world’s first love.” Fulton Sheen’s masterpiece on the Blessed Mother reveals the deepest meanings of who Mary of Nazareth was, along with the blueprint for the call of every human soul. Sheen has an impeccable gift for combining great storytelling with vibrant analogies. The result is a read that will capture the imagination and emotions of the one whose eyes are drawn to his pages.
Love is a dream. Behind every creation of God and beneath every action of the human being there is an idea, a plan, a blueprint. When God creates a flower he has an idea of what a flower should be and that manifestation of gentleness, color and beauty is what appears in reality.
The cosmos have an ordained order that the Father placed within it at the foundation of the world because his divine genius crafted it that way. When a painter sits down with her canvas and brush she has in her mind what she wants to create and it is only from there that her work of art can come to life.
In a sense, these archetypes or prerequisite ideals are like dreams in the mind of the one who sets out to create. Love is similar.
“Every person carries within his heart a blueprint for the one he loves. What seems to be ‘love at first sight’ is actually the fulfillment of a desire, the realization of a dream.”Ven. Fulton J. Sheen, The World’s First Love
Love is the highest capacity of the human person and in each love we are captivated by someone or something that is desiring to fulfill a void within our hearts. In every occasion of love we are chasing after the Love of the universe. No matter how beautiful and intimate of an encounter we have with our beloved, we always look towards the next moment and we crave to have more. This is not wrong and it doesn’t mean we are misconstruing the essence of love. It simply highlights the fact that the human soul is designed for a love that is beyond the temporal. We were created for an eternal flame of love that quenches the hearts desperate craving for the true, the good and the beautiful.
We are destined for the depths of this infinite love. As the divine architect, God is able to perfectly create in reality what he has in his mind. However, because human beings are endowed with freedom, we are placed in a precarious situation. For us, God has two images that stand before him: who we are in reality and who we ought to be. He has the blueprint and he has the building that presently exists. He has the sheet of music that was written and the melody we actually play. “God has to have these two images because in each and every one of us there is some disproportion and want of conformity between the original plan and the way we have worked it out.”
This is true of every human person who has ever walked this earth, except for Mary. The Blessed Mother is the only case when the ideal, the blueprint matched the reality. Unlike the rest of us she fulfills the Creator’s plan perfectly.
“Most of us are a minus sign, in the sense that we do not fulfill the high hopes the Heavenly Father has for us. But Mary is the equal sign. The Ideal that God had for her, that she is, and in the flesh. The model and the copy are perfect…the melody of her life is played just as it was written. Mary was thought, conceived, and planned as the equal sign between ideal and history, thought and reality, hope and realization.”Sheen, ibid.
In her freedom, Mary chose to give life rather than to act out of selfishness. In her choices, she placed God and others before herself. Through love, she shines as a bright light in a darkening world. The entire life of Mary shouts out to the world that we were created for something greater, that there is more.
This is why she personifies the highest peak of human living. The Blessed Mother is so often called the model of discipleship, but she is so much more. “She is the one whom every man loves when he loves a woman — whether he knows it or not. She is what every woman wants to be when she looks at herself.”
In these days, we look to the Virgin Mary and we beg for her prayers. In these days, let us look at her with the eyes of her Son. Let us be moved by her tremendous love and her uncompromising beauty. More than anything though, let us live just a little closer to the blueprint God crafted for us.
Slowly, let us flip our minus sign to equal the grandeur that awaits us. The promise of that eternal love is constantly being offered to us, let us freely choose to embrace it this year and become less of who we are and more of who we are meant to be.