Pope Benedict has inaugurated “The Year of St Paul”, beginning on June 29, 2008, at the first Vespers of the traditional Church Feast of Saints Peter and Paul. Last night I watched some of the liturgical celebrations live from the Vatican (on EWTN) to usher in this extraordinary Pauline year of grace.
In keeping with the spirit of this special day, we offer the following short quote from UNBORN JESUS OUR HOPE concerning the mystical nature of Mary’s pregnancy and words from Paul (and Peter) which help to throw light on it:
“She is the first Christian missionary. She carries the Christ across the land from this town to that. But He dwells within her ‑ within and beneath her heart. The mystery of this particular heart‑to‑Heart, body‑to‑Body communion between mother and Child, Christian and Christ, is impossible to fathom. Many years later both Saints Peter and Paul described their own sense of oneness with Christ in words that may help us in our appreciation of Mary’s experience. Reflecting on his own personal identification with Christ’s death on the cross, St. Paul would say; “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me…” (Gal 2:20).
But what of Mary’s intimate identification with our Lord’s Incarnation, the singular experience of Mary’s maternity? Her sentiments may have resembled those of St. Paul; paraphrasing now: “I have been conceived with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me…” And as each day passed, did she not sense that she was becoming, as St. Peter would later say, a partaker “of the divine nature” (II Pet 1:4)? No other human soul has experienced the wonder and grace of this mystical passage from youthful human simplicity into the eternal mystery of mothering God! Words fail us here: ” Christ is all, and in all” (Col 3:11).”
Every Christian must discover for himself or herself, and repeatedly, just how “Christ is all, and in all” for him and for her. In a unique way, during her nine month pregnancy, Mary must have pondered within her heart – in an archetypical manner – the Incarnational mystery that “Christ is all, and in all”. He certainly was “all and in all” in her! Following baptism and the onset of the life of God within each Christian soul, it is true on the spiritual level – a mystical truth and reality grasped and taught well by St Paul – that “Christ is all, and in all”! And just as the pregnant Mary saw intimate signs of Christ’s life within her own and desired to live well her nine months for Him, so too today’s Christian recognizes personal signs of Christ’s life within his or her heart and must strive to live well all his or her days for Christ.
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