Mary’s children interpret her in many ways, all of them beautiful, but her most sumptuous beauty can be found in the singular position she holds among women. Hers is a name that we will never finish saying, a name that will continue to fill us with happiness every time we hear it. In the Angelic Salutation that has flown through history as a source of gladness, millions upon millions have greeted her in the same manner. With every Hail Mary all of us go back to that familiar salute, in the hope of obtaining her intercession in this human experiment called life, which culminates in death, the threshold of the everlasting life.
“Mary!” Just saying her name makes our heart jump for joy, like the child in Elizabeth’s womb – “and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.” “Mary!” This is what shepherds and carpenters said as they came to the door of that semblance of a stall, which was the home of the Holy Family on the Nazareth hillside. “Mary” they called her, as they went on to ask a favour, because she was always willing to serve anyone and full of possibilities for everyone. And if they didn’t have favours to ask, they would show up simply because of the pleasure it gave them to greet her with that name, which was filled with beauty and wonder because it summarized all the mysteries of love. “Mary”, the feminine word for Love…
Like Archangel Gabriel, Joseph, the saints, and many sinners, we continue centuries later to call her by that same name, fifty, a hundred, or more times a day. We never pin on to it noble titles, high-sounding appellatives, primacy or rank. We prefer – as she prefers – to draw her closer to us and to never draw far from her, so that we can draw near to the Spouse who shares a singular unity with her. The rush of the crowds, whirlwind of the passions and traces of the Spirit that vein human history are filled with that name, through which love travels from the depths of the earth to heights of Heaven. Humility draws closer, and love unites: this is the great tribute. We feel at home in Christ’s Church, we feel at home in the Communion of Saints in the orbit of the Trinity: because Mary is there. The Mother is there, and so the children can come in. Wherever there is Mary, there is love. Wherever there is love, there is God. Just to say the name of Mary in whatever place or circumstance, is to step into a divine atmosphere in a single breath, to light a star in the middle of the night, to unlock the healing flow of poetry in the midst of a technological plague, to make a swamp blossom with lilies. To say Mary is to restore the warmth of a family to a world that seems to have become a forced labour camp.
Mary loves and hides herself in love: Real love is contemplation of the beloved. Also in this, by imitating the young woman from Nazareth, we can be contemplatives in the midst of the world, in the hovel of a country farm house or in the apartment of a city dwelling.
The love in Mary was so great that she provided God to us – God who is Love. She all but ripped him from Heaven in order to give him to earth. She made the Holy One one of us, a man at the service of all.
Truly, love means making yourself one with the Beloved. Mary became so one with God that he gave himself over to her so that, through her, he would give himself to all people.
Ultimately, you are in the world, in a different time and place, but, being there like Mary, you are always and everywhere preparing the place for Jesus to stay.