Mary: The Promised Woman

As the centuries passed and mankind lived in more darkness and became more depraved, God would send His prophets to encourage and enlighten His creatures.

Though His creatures chose to rule themselves, He would not abandon them.

He would send them glimpses of what was to come through His Prophets. He would intervene in their history to show His Power. He would forgive their many transgressions to manifest His Mercy.

Through Noah, the Father showed His Mercy by preserving the human race, because of the holiness of one man.

Through Abraham, He gave an example of Faith and Hope — Faith in an invisible God, and Hope in His promises. He tested that Faith when He asked Abraham to sacrifice His only son, to prefigure the sacrifice He Himself would make, by giving His Son to redeem the world.

Through Abraham He began to form a small nation of people through whom He would manifest His love and Mercy by sending His Son.

Abraham was to prefigure the Father’s Love. He was willing to sacrifice his son in obedience to God’s command. But Abraham’s son was spared — God’s Son was condemned.

Through Jacob, God brought forth the twelve tribes of Is­rael. From one of these tribes would come His Son and the Woman.

This article is from “Mother Angelica on Christ and Our Lady.”

He showed Jacob a ladder in a dream, with angels going up and coming down. His Son would be the ladder between heaven and earth, uniting two worlds separated by a great gulf.

Through Joseph, God prefigured His Son, Jesus. Jesus, like Joseph, would be sold for a few pieces of silver, and the Father would use man’s jealousy to redeem His people.

Through Moses He showed the mystery of all mysteries.

The burning bush prefigured the God-man who was to come. A bush on fire yet ever green symbolized the union of Divinity with humanity.

It also prefigured the future role of the Woman who was to come — a Woman who was on fire with love for God and became a Mother, yet always remained a Virgin.

Again, He chose one man — Moses — to deliver His people from bondage. He gave him laws through which they would find God.

Time and time again they defied His laws, and time and time again He used their depravity to show His Mercy and form a people through which His Son would come.

His Presence hovered over them as a cloud during the day and as fire during the night.

But despite His care they often complained against God and Moses. As with Adam and Eve, so these people rebelled against God’s authority. They were bitten by fiery serpents and many died.

Then Moses interceded for his people, and God used this incident to prefigure His Son on the Cross and its healing power.

He commanded Moses to make a fiery serpent and put it on a standard and all who looked upon it would be healed. In the same way, those who would look upon His Son on the Cross and repent, would be healed of their sins.

As time went on, He prefigured and foretold . . .

  • His Son’s priesthood and immolation, in Leviticus,
  • His Son’s Presence in the midst of His people, in Numbers,
  • His Son’s law of the Gospels, in Deuteronomy,
  • His Son’s conducting His creatures to the Promised Land, in Joshua,
  • the power of penance and repentance, in Judges,
  • His Son’s patience in adversity, and future Resurrec­tion, in Job,
  • the power of prayer and humility, in the life of David, f and His Son’s Birth, Life, and Death, in Isaias and Jeremias.

Throughout these centuries He also prefigured and foretold the mission and the coming of the Woman — the Woman He promised to Adam and Eve — the one who would crush the serpent’s head.

Deborah, Judith, and Esther prefigured the Woman whose holiness God would use to deliver His people from the enemy.

Through Isaias He promised a Virgin who would conceive and bring forth a Son whose name would be Emanuel — a son who would “bear His Kingdom on His shoulders, and He would be called Wonder-Counselor, Mighty-God, Eternal-Father, and Prince of Peace.” (Is. 7:14; 9:6)

Through Jeremias He announces that the Woman will bear in her womb a man who is God and man. (Jer. 31:21-22)

Ezekiel saw the Woman in the figure of a closed gate which was open only for God and through which no other man could enter (Ezek. 44:2).

In the Canticle of Canticles, her grace and beauty are so great that they capture the Heart of God, and He is enraptured with the love of her virginal heart.

Though she slept, her heart was always awake, and, unlike Eve whose yearning met only with man’s authority, the Woman finds Love. “I am my Beloved’s and His desire is for me” (Cant. 7:11).

Unlike Eve, whose pride forced Adam to wield the hand of authority, the Woman breaks through the clouds of sin like the soft rays of the sun — penetrating and coloring everything they touch, but never casting a shadow over the sun.

As Eve desired to be in a position of authority, the Woman was satisfied to be His Handmaid.

As Eve desired to experience good and evil, the Woman was desirous of casting her eyes upon Goodness alone.

As Eve desired to be in a position of authority, the Woman was His humble servant.

As Eve glorified herself, the Woman exulted in the Lord. As Eve desired to be in the first place, the Woman found joy in the last place.

As Eve took the credit for her gifts, the Woman magnified the Lord that His Power had done great things in her.

And so it was that as Eve’s pride made her the mother of fallen mankind, the Woman’s humility made her the Mother of God.

Editor’s note: This article is from a chapter in Mother Angelica on Christ and Our Ladywhich is available from Sophia Institute Press.

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Mother Angelica (1923-2016) was a Franciscan nun and founder of Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN). She remains one of the most popular figures and personalities on Catholic television as well as a powerful witness for Christ.

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