The Feast of the Motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The truth that Our Lord took flesh from a well-chosen woman is at the heart of God’s justice. Certainly, the fact that His holy Mother remained a virgin after giving birth is not a rarefied theory but foundational to God’s justice.
For God’s justice is all about reconciling us to our Maker—the Creator and Father of everything, from whom we are estranged whenever we let our pride and ungodly passions dominate our decisions and choices.
God’s justice is all about overwhelming, by stealth, the devil who invented death in order to increase our fear, our anxiety, our hatred, and our enmity toward each other. For when the devil is undone, and when we know that death is not the end but a gateway into a more glorious life—then our whole way of living changes, and those we fear now become those we seek to embrace.
And God’s justice is all about drawing near to us so that we might draw near to Him. And living through our heartache so that we might both know what is possible and never have to go through the worst alone.
God in Christ taking us actually, truly, really into Himself so that we can take Him actually, truly, and really into our own bodies—and thereby be better, truly better; so that we no longer need to fight, fight, fight, but can be still and settled and refreshed in pure kindness: that’s what God’s justice is all about.
Our justice is limited to how much we can control others.
God’s justice is Christ taking us into Himself so that we can take Him into our own bodies.
To be less frantic, and more at ease. To be less afraid, and more secure. To end our weariness, and give us lasting respite. That is the goal of God’s justice.
Certainly, Our Lord’s justice is very different from our notions of justice.
Our justice is limited to how much we can control others—control their statements or choices; control their bullying or abusiveness. And our justice is restricted to what we see and define as fair and good at this time. And our justice has everything to do with our self-determined rights, and constraining those who usurp or undermine those rights.
In a world that doesn’t think much of God and cares less about those who do; in a devolving world where the very excluding word ‘my’ now determines truth, reality, morality, and narrative; in this place where joy and hope are constantly stolen from us, where we are prodded to see disquietude as the new normal—in this world which, even among Christians, sidelines God—perhaps a justice that controls others is the best we can do.
But even then, control of others is not only ineffective but even destructive if we don’t seek to control ourselves by putting to death the pleasures, the experiences, even the appetites that we’re so sure we are entitled to and can’t live without.
A transformation of our needs, and how we see ourselves; a transformation of how we define happiness and our purpose; and, above all else, a transformation of life—not just living, but life and the life that sees the biggest picture: that is what God’s justice aims to accomplish.
And this transformation of you and me, and of us together—this justice that sets everything aright even as it lifts our hopes and inspires new confidence in life and living—this begins when the Archangel Gabriel says, “Hail Mary, full of grace.” The bodiless spirit says is that the fulness of God dwells in the body of this woman. And as the Lord knits her flesh to His divine nature, He begins the transformation of each one of us.
This transformation of you and me, this is God’s justice. So this true justice, which makes petty our ideas of justice—this is confirmed when Elizabeth proclaims that Mary is the Mother of the Lord.
What an astounding thought: the God without beginning or end now both wants and needs a mother! By becoming the Mother of God, ‘blessed of all woman,’ the woman who excels any and every man; with her God’s justice is now put into motion.
In our flesh, which He gets from Mary, the omnipotent Lord now engages our extremely savage enemy in mortal combat. But the war is not fairly fought. For Our Lord stoops below the devil’s level, getting from us the capacity to bleed and die. Yet the justice of God is that He will become the weakest human in order to overwhelm the strongest demon. He endures humiliation to deflate the proudest of the proud. He wills to sacrifice Himself entirely in order to redeem and love back to life all creation. He determines to be destroyed in order to rebuild our life from His tomb.
Now, perhaps, you can see that God’s justice is just the opposite of what we talk about these days. Not speaking truth to power, but weakness overcoming strength; vulnerability taking down the invincible; and Truth in the flesh dispatching unreal lies.
Again, all this hinges on a woman who gives birth to God. For by conceiving, and carrying, and birthing, and nurturing, and raising God in our flesh, Mary is on the front lines of God working His justice by transforming our flesh, and making it capable of being interpenetrated with divinity. By saying, “Let it be to me,” she reveals that with our will encased in faith, we can live fearlessly and with relentless hope. And, most of all, by willingly accepting the offer to be God’s Mother, Mary shows us that we also can carry God’s Body and Blood in our flesh.
It is this flesh of Christ, both for us and in us—in our minds and in our own bodies by the Eucharist—it is this flesh, born of the Virgin Mary, that accomplishes in our very being the justice of God the Father; to whom, with His Son in the unity of the Holy Spirit, belongs all glory, honor, and worship: now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.