Mary. I’m not sure I preached about Mary in a Sunday homily this year – but today I think I will. Because the Gospel preaches to us about her today. This should not be surprising: for the Gospel in its essence is the person of Jesus Christ – and it is unsurprising that Jesus honours his mother. But in Jesus of course, God himself honours his mother. Because Mary is not just Mother of Jesus. She has a far more ancient title: Mother of God.
As we see today. And what is interesting also is not only what the Gospel says: but what actually happened. Despite having received the miracle of a baby in a way not known since the prophets Samson and Samuel, Elizabeth calls Mary the most important of all women to ever be! Of all women are you the most blessed. She also says she is honoured to receive a visit from Mary: in fact, that she does not deserve it. Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord? There is only one Lord: so in calling her Mother of my Lord Elizabeth recognises Mary as Mother of God. And it is not only Elizabeth honouring the Virgin Mary: even the very child in Elizabeth’s womb publicly honours her: as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
Why is Mary so special? It’s because, unlike us, she perfectly welcomes God and gives herself to God. In the Second Reading we hear the the author describe the Jesus as the one who made us holy by the offering of his body. Mary too offers her body: as God offers his body to her, unlike us Mary responds saying, yes, I welcome your body, totally as you are. And she also goes on to say, unlike us, here is my body, for you to do as you will. This is why Mary is so special. She gives the only perfect yes to God in all history. This is why she is the mother of all saints, and why she is the easiest way to perfect imitation and unity with Christ.
So how can we, like Elizabeth, better welcome Mary into our life? Firstly, place an image of the Virgin in our home. This way Mary is always evidently present in our home, in our problems and joys and family at home.
Two: talk to her. Throughout the day tell her about the things which make you sad and troubled. Talk to her also about your joys. She is interested, you know, and takes an interest in anything we share with her. It can help us enormously.
Three: pray the consecration of St Louis de Montfort every morning. It’s a very powerful prayer: in it, just as Jesus offers his body for us, and Mary offers her body to him, so do we offer our body, and all we have, to Mary to do whatever she wants. This is true freedom: this is what we are made for. And it is a true way of peace: what happens in your day doesn’t depend all on you anymore: it’s totally up to her. And by so doing I place myself at her school the whole day. Is this not a wonderful opportunity we have? Today we choose you Mary, standing before all the saints, to be our mother and our Queen. We dedicate ourselves to you, in humility and love, our bodies and our souls, our gifts and our possessions, the merit of good deeds, those present, past and still to come. We freely give you the right, to deal with us, and everything we have, as you see fit, for the greater glory of God, both now and for all eternity. Amen.