Jesus and Mary – Mary and Jesus

One of my favorite questions for Protestants is, “You couldn’t have Jesus without Mary, so why do you want to have Jesus without Mary?”

Catholics have for ever insisted that there was a unique bond between Jesus and Mary. Galatians 4:4 says, “In the fullness of time God sent forth his Son born OF a woman.” Not “through” a woman but “of”. Prepositions are important.

We believe that the Blessed Virgin was not just a conduit or channel for the Son of God to come into the world. Instead he took his human flesh from his human mother. In other words Jesus would have looked like Mary, and Mary would have resembled Jesus. I guess if you want to see what Mary looked like you would have to imagine the man of the Shroud of Turin, but in female form and not so beat up.

Catholics have always insisted that this close bond between Jesus and Mary means that she shares in his joys and sorrows–indeed in his whole life in an intimate way. Indeed, in a far more intimate way than any other child and mother since he took his whole human flesh from her. So St Paul says in I Corinthians, “Man cannot be without woman nor woman without man.” First Adam and First Even and Second Adam and Second Eve. Man and Wife one flesh. Man and Mother. One flesh.

Now there is this very cool research that has been done to show that the child’s stem cells remain in the mother’s body. Not only do some of them remain in the mother’s body, but they remain active. They do stuff. It’s kind of like they are alive in her. Mothers–the bond with your child is more literal and real than you think. You can read the article here that explains this beautiful reality.

What are the implications for the incarnation? It means Jesus remained in Mary in a real and amazing way. “A sword shall pierce your own heart also.” Mary the sorrowful mother identified with her son’s passion and with all his works because he remained in her and she in him.

This is a physical sign of a greater truth we believe about the Mother of God–that her union with her Son is a sign of the spiritual reality that we all experience through the life of grace: that Christ is in me, the hope of glory–that he is the vine and I am the branches–that for me to live is Christ–that I am baptized into him–that he is in me and I am in him.

When I am born again what was a physical reality for the Blessed Mother becomes a spiritual and ontological reality in me.

Yes. Christ is in me…the hope of glory.

Takes my breath away!

About Fr. Dwight Longenecker
  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16287885673401261090 Obpoet

    Yes, it is called microchimerism. It is common in women with scleroderma. When I learned about this phenomenon, I wondered if this could be part of the reason for the assumption, so that nothing of Jesus' body, DNA, etc, be left behind on earth for our grubby inquisitive mitts to latch on to. If we had Mary's bones, I am sure someone would be probing the marrow for DNA that could belong to her son.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00707611566091137431 shadowlands

    I was uneasy about forming a relationship with Our Lady, due to my youthful protestant experiences and indeed personal fears re false idols etc.In Jan 2007, I knelt down in my kitchen and prayed in a true born again, pentecostal form:"Lord Jesus and Father, if it is Your Will that I should become closer to Your Mother, then let this happen, Amen"Or words very similar anyway. The outcome was to be down to God's Will, that was the emphasis of the prayer.Careful what you pray for, when you really mean it, because God answers prayers like that very dramatically! My family's life was about to undergo a terrible trauma and the Lord knew I would need His Mother's assistance. I believe He prompted the prayer in my spirit. Well, scripture says He is the author and finisher of my faith (what does it say about everyone else's?)!! Praise the Lord, seek His Will and pray your rosaries!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17814899666244618561 Brent Stubbs

    This is great and timely. Last night while I was spending time with my small children, my son did something very kind to his brother. I said, "Jesus and Mary are so proud." Out of nowhere, my old Protestant sensibilities rose up and started to throw a fit.Then I realized I would have had no problem saying, "Jesus and Daddy are so proud of you". Well, if I'm okay with Jesus + Daddy, I am definitely okay with Jesus + Mary. Ave Maria.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16430567545267057741 John

    Father, should your first line read: "You couldn't have Jesus without Mary, so why do you want to have Mary without Jesus?"

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14531024393615051496 veritas

    John,I don't whether you missed the point Father was making that we got Jesus through Mary yet Protestants now want Jesus without Mary or whther you are referring to the fact that some Catholics in their devotion seem to talk a lot more about Mary than they do about Jesus. If you were making the second point then I can agree with you. It does seem to me that some Catholics do get their spirituality a bit unbalanced and replace Jesus with Mary. I'm not sure why this happens or exactly what the answer is. The Protestant solution – ban any reference to Mary, ban asking for her intercession, ban any understanding of her maternal role in guiding us and praying for us – is totally wrong, unscriptural and at odds with 2000 years of Church history. So like anything else in our spiritual life the answer is to follow the guidance of the Church.


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