08 December 2010

Holy Mother Takes a Stand

From von Balthasar's Christian State of Life, in honor of today's Feast of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, patroness of our seminary and of the United States:

"You are all beautiful, and
there is no blemish in you"
(Song of Songs 4:1).
An outdoor fresco outside
the Pantheon in Rome.
In Mary is proof that one does not have to experience all the ways of the world in order to know them. She, the Seat of Wisdom, knows the whole truth about the fallen world, for she sees in the torn body and spiritual anguish of her Son what this world actually does and is. In God’s view, no further knowledge about sin is either valid or useful. Mary does not have to leave the contemplation of her Son to dispense her love, her assistance and her mediation on all the paths of earth. She does so because her Son has done so before her in eucharistic prodigality, and it is no more necessary for her than for him to alter her stand in God’s will in order to bend pityingly and efficaciously over all the world’s suffering and guilt. She is so pure and loving that she needs no cloister to remain undefiled by the world. Wherever she goes, she brings purity, love and heaven with her; her love is its own cloister. Every dividing wall between world and cloister, earth and heaven, falls as she approaches it. She teaches Christians to be fearless in their following of Christ, who does not hesitate to send his own among wolves and to expose them unprotected to the hostility of the world. Where a cloister does exist, it is not an invention of fear; like the whole state of election, it has a representative value as the manifest symbol of withdrawal from the world and the taking of a stand in God.
 I just returned from a ceremony in which about a dozen of my brother seminarians finished the 30-day consecration to Jesus through Mary according to St. Louis de Montfort.  It was an edifying and "pious" gathering, not in the self-conscious, preening way we normally use that word, but in the sense of a quiet, devoted act of love for the Virgin Mother and the Son she was given to bear.

Thank you, men.

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