Pope John Paul II on the Annunciation, pt 2

A “burning charity” for souls

In Part III of The Mother of the Redeemer, on Maternal Mediation, Pope John Paul returns to the significance of this moment within the mystery of the Annunciation: “The first moment of submission to the one mediation ‘between God and men’ — the mediation of Jesus Christ — is the Virgin of Nazareth’s acceptance of motherhood. Mary consents to God’s choice, in order to become through the power of the Holy Spirit the Mother of the Son of God.”

The deep significance of the “Fiat” is that not only did Mary’s consent usher in the “fullness of time,” her consent was the first and best model of submission to the mediation in Christ. John Paul II notes that Mary’s virginity (total consecration to God — “Ecce”) fuses with her motherhood (“Fiat”).

It can be said that a consent to motherhood is above all a result of her total self-giving to God in virginity. Mary accepted her election as Mother of the Son of God, guided by spousal love, the love which totally “consecrates” a human being to God. By virtue of this love, Mary wished to be always and in all things “given to God,” living in virginity. The words “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord” express the fact that from the outset she accepted and understood her own motherhood as a total gift of self, a gift of her person to the service of the saving plans of the Most High. And to the very end she lived her entire maternal sharing in the life of Jesus Christ, her Son, in a way that matched her vocation to virginity. III.§39

He says that the Church has great trust in Mary as our Mother and her motherhood the Church continually “commends to the hearts of the faithful.” Mary’s motherhood is “completely pervaded by her spousal attitude as the ‘handmaid of the Lord.'” And her election to the supreme office and dignity of Mother of the Son of God is “on the ontological level,” because it refers “to the very reality of the union of the two natures in the person of the Word (hypostatic union).” As the Mother of the Son of God, Mary  “from the very beginning [possesses] a complete openness to the person of Christ, to his whole work, to his whole mission.”

For this reason, Pope John Paul II explains, “Mary became not only the ‘nursing mother’ of the Son of Man but also the ‘associate of unique nobility’ of the Messiah and Redeemer.”  For “she advanced in her pilgrimage of faith, and in this pilgrimage to the foot of the Cross there was simultaneously accomplished her maternal cooperation with the Savior’s whole mission through her actions and sufferings.” All this is contained in that first moment of the “Fullness of time,” the Annunciation. For good reason is she the “Star of the New Evangelization,” as John Paul II refers to her “burning charity”:
Along the path of this collaboration with the work of her Son, the Redeemer, Mary’s motherhood itself underwent a singular transformation, becoming ever more imbued with “burning charity” towards all those to whom Christ’s mission was directed. Through this “burning charity,” which sought to achieve, in union with Christ, the restoration of “supernatural life to souls.”

The recent Vatican “lineamenta” for the upcoming synod on evangelization also connects the annunciation and evangelization (use this ): “the first evangelization began on the day of Pentecost, when the Apostles, gathered together in prayer with the Mother of Christ, received the Holy Spirit. In this way, Mary, who according to the words of the Archangel is ‘full of grace’, was present during apostolic evangelization and continues to be present in those places where the successors of the Apostles strive to proclaim the Gospel.” §23

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