Mary, a gift in faith and love
1.0. A Gift in Faith
The Angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said to him, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife because she has conceived what is in her by the Holy Spirit” (Mt 1:20). After Joseph discovered that Mary was pregnant, his human love for her could not carry him on...But being a man faith, he listened to the instruction of the Angel and took Mary home as his wife (Mt 1:24). At this point he acted out of obedience of faith, for he was a righteous man before the Lord (cf. Mt 1:19). In other words, he took Mary home not on his personal decision, but in obedience to the instruction of the Angel. Thus, he recived Mary into his home as a gift—yes, a gift he recived in faith.
St Joseph stood unbehalf of God's faithful, the generations of believers, to receive Mary in faith. She is our Mother in faith. The Almighty has done these great things, and given Mary to His Church. She brings forth Jesus; she wins us salvation (Mt 1:21).
2.0.A Gift of Love
“No one can have greater love than to lay down his life for his friends” (Jn 15:13). This is what Jesus did on the Cross. From this hieght of love, before totally surrendering His life, He gave His precious Mother to His beloved disciple (Jn 19:25-27). He emptied Himself for us, taking the form, not just a slave, but even the form of an orphan on the Cross (cf. Phil 2:7) that we might not be left orphans (Jn 14:18). We have a Mother...!
John stood with love at the foot of the Cross to receive Mary on behalf of all God's beloved Children. Mary is given to us in love; a parting gift from the Master who was determined to teach all He learnt and handover all He received from the Father (cf. Jn 17:8). “From that hour the disciple took her into his home” (Jn 19:27). Thus, when we receive Mary in our hearts with love, our relationship with Jesus becomes more joyous. Mary is our model in charity, a Gift of love. Her presence assures of our filial relationship with Jesus.
3.0.Faith and Love
Faith and love are the two wings on which God's children fly to the beatific vision. Faith is the foundation, love is the outer structure that gives beauty to the house. Without faith the structure collapses; without love the foundation is desolate. Thus, the edifice of our life in Christ is built on faith and love. It is within this edifice that we make a Home for Mary, a Gift in faith and love.
Faith needs understanding or reason. That is why the Angel had to explain to Joseph why he should receive Mary in faith. “...Because she has conceive what is in her by the Holy Spirit...”(Mt 1:20-21). Accepting Mary, therefore, is guarantee that what the Lord said would be fulfilled (Lk 1:45). Those who accept Mary as their Mother in faith need not understand everything before believing. She steps in as a Guarantor, a living Assurance of faith.
Love needs no explanation! That is why Jesus did not explain to John why he should take Mary home. Love is its own answer; the reason for love is love. That is why immediately after handing over His Mother, “Jesus knew that everything has now been completed” (Jn 19:28). Love brings completeness. Accepting Mary in love brings us satisfaction even in the midst of lack.
Faith is necessary but love is sufficient. Take Mary home! She has been given to us in faith and love. Accepting and appreciating a gift throws one into a deeper relationship with the giver.
Fr Jude Chinwenwa Nwachukwu, C.Ss.R
Mother of Perpetual Help Shrine,
August 4th, 2018.