Monday, August 11, 2008
Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood
We pray John's Gospel each day if we pray the Angelus at 6 am, noon, and 6 pm.
"And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us."
Have we ever TRULY contemplated those holy words? This great mystery of the Incarnation?
We should often contemplate Jesus on the Cross, for He gave His flesh on our behalf...and continues to offer us His flesh and blood through Holy Communion. As Christians, we always look to Jesus, we always look to the Incarnation and we know that He died to ransom us.
I have a huge devotion to Our Mother of Perpetual Help. Her Icon graces my home both upstairs in my room and downstairs, greeting all who enter my home. I keep her image on a keychain. Thus, as long as I have her image before me, I have the entire Gospel of salvation no matter where life takes me.
Tonight, I was gazing upon the Icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, considering all she has done to bring me closer to Jesus, and in so doing, I realized that I cannot gaze upon her without seeing Jesus. I cannot look at Mary without seeing our Savior, for our Lord wears her flesh and shed her blood.
Think about it. When you look at children, who do you see? You see the child, yes. But you ALSO see the parents. You see one parent, then both. You see the features of BOTH. You see that this child has his father's eyes, and this girl has her mother's cupid's-bow mouth. They have the ski-jump nose attributed to the family genetics, and the curly locks belonging to a particular geneology of the family bloodline. No child is created in a vacuum.
Nor was Jesus.
When God became Incarnate through the flesh of humanity, He took on the genetic structure and adopted all that belonged to His Mother. God had never before appeared to us in the flesh; it was Jesus who enabled us to look upon God through His Son Incarnate. Thus, when we look upon Jesus, we see His Mother, for it was she who contributed to His ethnicity as a Jew, His eyes, His hair color, His skin color, His physical bone structure (as in facial features, etc.), and His blood type. The same blood that was shed for us. All of His humanity came to us through His Mother alone.
Jesus was not a human being divorced from human genetics; although He is the Son of God, He took on his flesh from His Mother, and so when we see images of Him on the Cross, we must ALSO remember the Mother He chose, who willingly dedicated her very flesh and bone so that the Son of God might dwell among us and save us from our sins. And we must see that in the features of Jesus, we find His Mother, and in the features of Mary, we are pointed towards Our Lord and Savior.
I do not mean to indicate that Jesus was a clone of Mary; I mean only to point to her obvious contribution to His humanity, just as all parents contribute to the features of their children.
There are those who dismiss the Mother of God, Theotokos, as being "just some woman", which seems to relegate her to the level of a whore. They dismiss Mary as unimportant, and yet, claim to know Christ. I fail to understand how one can know Christ and claim His blood for salvation, yet refuse to acknowledge the woman Christ Himself chose to donate the blood to be given on our behalf. I cannot comprehend how one can love Jesus and ignore the very woman He chose from Eternity to bring Him into our presence in order to save us from our obstinate exile in sin.
Jesus Christ is our Bridegroom, the one spoken of throughout the Gospels, and we, the Church, are His Bride. When we see our Savior, by necessity we acknowledge His Mother, and we seek her counsel. We are embraced not only by Jesus, but by His Mother, who takes us as Her own in our marriage to her Divine Son, and constantly seeks to bring us into closer union with Him.
I can testify to her intervention; I can testify that when I look at my Mother Mary, she directs me to Jesus and the more I am willing to accept her as my Mother, the more I find that Jesus awaits under the Baldaccino of the Altar, and the more I recognize that the blood spilled for me unites us all not only to Him, but to an eternity of which we cannot even dream.
It was Jesus who shed His blood for us, but it was His Mother who donated her blood first.