In the timeline in this season of Christmas, the Gospel tells us it is eight days after this birth, that is today(remember in the Jewish reckoning of days, the day begins when the sun sets) we are told that the baby Jesus was to be circumcised, and formally given the name Jesus. The religious ceremony attached to the baby’s circumcision brings the child into the family of the chosen people. And even though the tiny drops of blood shed by the Son of God as a baby is sufficient, God’s love compels this child to win our hearts. This baby must grow strong in earthly wisdom and strength to become the savior of mankind and to convince us to turn away from our sins. Do this does not happen overnight, nor within a vacuum.
Today the Church acknowledges the unique role given to Mary, not only because she willingly accepted to conceive a baby by the Holy Spirit, becoming pregnant while remaining a virgin. God does not simply use Mary as a means to enter into our world. That would make Mary simply a surrogate. Instead, God the Father trusts Mary with the nurturing, formation and relationship necessary for his Son to receive as any newborn as they grow and mature. In short, Mary is entrusted with divine motherhood.
Try to think of the great significance of this and you will understand the great dignity that Mary is given in the Church. God, the creator of the universe gives Mary human existence. Her baby is God in human form. God entrusts himself, his physical wellbeing to her. He trusts her with himself. He allows himself, small and vulnerable, to be subject to her, influenced by her. God allows himself to be mothered by Mary!
And, in the same manner, this baby that Mary holds close to her, from her perspective this baby is her child, even though she knows herself to be still a virgin. This is still her baby, she is the mother of this baby even though this is the Son of God made flesh and blood. The relationship Mary has with the baby Jesus is that of any mother to her newborn, instinctively close, protective but most of all, a relationship of adorable love she has for her newborn.
And one can think of these two sensations of Mary as she holds the baby close to her. First she knows the child to have no human father. She knows the baby was formed inside of her from the breath of God himself. So as she holds this baby, she knows she holds in her arms a divine child worthy of true adoration and worship. Yet, for nine months she was a mother expecting her baby. Now this baby has been born. In her heart Mary adores and she nurtures. For this reason, she is rightfully called Mother of God.God not only had to suspend the laws of nature that Mary might be a virgin mother, God also became vulnerable, small, dependent on Mary. God gave Mary rights over himself. He had made her his mother and he, himself, he had made himself her Son. God trusted himself and his whole plan of salvation completely to Mary’s motherhood and in doing so allowed her to cooperate in our salvation. The angels of heaven must have stood back and said to each other, ” Who is she that comes forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in battle array” (cf. Song of Songs 6:10)
To this end, we can confidently pray, as we do instinctively to her as our mother, Hail Mary, full of grace the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of they womb, Jesus…