Today’s guest post is by Kyle Fuller, marketing assistant at Logos Bible Software.
May is the month that the Church, starting in thirteenth century, has dedicated to reverence and veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In observance of this Marian month, let’s remember the miraculous things God did through her, and what we can learn from her obedience and love.
“What the virgin Eve bound by her unbelief, Mary loosened by her faith.” —Lumen Gentium, 56
St. Paul tells us in his first letter to the Corinthians that Jesus Christ is the New Adam. “Thus it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being’; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit” (1 Cor. 15:45). If in Christ Jesus we have the new Adam, then it is through the Blessed Virgin Mary that we have the new Eve.
“The man called his wife Eve, because she became the mother of all the living.” —Genesis 3:20
Eve was the mother of all Creation; beside Adam, she looked after all the lands and animals, and birthed humanity. Mary was, in turn, the mother of all the New Creation, looking after us after Christ died. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Cor. 5:17). Jesus commanded on the Cross that Mary be the mother of his new Creation, that she look after us after his death (and ultimately his resurrection)—“When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” (John 19:26–27). Both virgins brought forth new life, one for this world and one for the next.
Just as the former—that is, Eve—was seduced by the words of an angel so that she turned away from God by disobeying his word, so the latter—Mary—received the good news from an angel’s announcement in such a way as to give birth to God by obeying his word . . . And as the human race was subjected to death by a virgin, it was liberated by a virgin; a virgin’s disobedience was thus counterbalanced by a Virgin’s obedience. —St. Irenaeus, “Against Heresies” 3:22:24
Eve was created immaculate. She walked the Earth pure and unsullied by the stain of sin. In fact, sin did not enter the world until she and Adam brought it. Ever since the Fall, sin has been destroying the world, bringing men and women to their knees repenting and asking for God’s grace and mercy. But just as sin came into the world through a spotless virgin, so salvation would come through another. Eve lived her life disobeying God, falling into darkness and brokenness. Mary lived her life in obedience to God, even when it seemed an insurmountable task was placed before her.
The Blessed Virgin Mary is what Eve was created to be. God formed Eve because Adam needed “a helper fit for him” (Gen. 2:18). Rather than helping Adam follow God’s commands, Eve aided him in turning away from God. Mary did the exact opposite. At the wedding of Cana, the Holy Mother encouraged her son to perform his first miracle, and show the world that he was the Christ, beginning his ministry. Both women were created to be helpers, but only one led a man into God’s obedience and plan—to be our savior.
If, then, piety is the virtue which binds us to the sources of all life, to God, to our parents, to the church, to Christ, certainly Christian piety binds us, in grateful love, to Mary—or our acceptance of Christ and of the mystery of our kinship with Him is imperfect, partial, and unfulfilled. —Cardinal John Wright
Jesus Christ is Lord. We are to look to him for grace, for mercy, and as the living Word of God. He is the Immanuel, “God with us,” and for our sake he sacrificed himself on the cross. He lived in obedience, whereas Adam lived in obstinacy. Mary, too, stands as an exemplar of humility, modeling everything we are supposed to be—obedient, trusting, and submissive to God’s will because he has shown us time and again he knows what is best for us. “For I know the plans I have for you,” he tells us through the Prophet Jeremiah. Yet for all of this, we often forsake the one who loves us more than we can comprehend. The Blessed Virgin Mary did not. She listened to the angel, said “yes” to God when Eve said “no,” and birthed the one who saved us all. Spend this May in prayer, offering your heart up to Mary, and ask yourself how you, too, can be a New Eve or Adam.
To celebrate the veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we are offering Queen Mother: A Biblical Theology of Mary’s Queenship and the Catholic for a Reason Collection—two resources that focus on Mary—for 15% off with the coupon code Mary2013.