The Spouse of God
As I was mediating on the beginning of the Gospel according to St. Luke, and wondering about what to write about in my weekly post this time, my thoughts fell upon Saint Alphonsus Liguori’s wonderful work “The Glories of Mary,” particularly one small statement within this book that Protestants often misunderstand and take as a lie. There is a passage from the second chapter of St. Luke that inspired me to turn my thoughts to Saint Alphonsus Liguori, and contrary to the misunderstandings, if you understand what the blessed Saint is saying, it opens up a beautiful meditation on the relationship between the Blessed Virgin, the Church, and the Triune God.
Here is the passage from the Gospel according to St. Luke that prompted my mediations:
“And his (Christ’s) parents went every year to Jerusalem, at the solemn day of the Pasch, And when he was twelve years old, they going up into Jerusalem, according to the custom of the feast, And having fulfilled the days, when they returned, the child Jesus remained in Jerusalem; and his parents knew it not. And thinking that he was in the company, they came a day's journey, and sought him among their kinsfolks and acquaintance. And not finding him, they returned into Jerusalem, seeking him. And it came to pass, that, after three days, they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his wisdom and his answers. And seeing him, they wondered. And his mother said to him: Son, why hast thou done so to us? behold thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And he said to them: How is it that you sought me? did you not know, that I must be about my Father's business? And they understood not the word that he spoke unto them. And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them. And his mother kept all these words in her Heart. And Jesus advanced in wisdom, and age, and grace with God and men.”- St. Luke 2:41-52
This is truly a remarkable passage! Here is the passage from “The Glories of Mary” that it reminded me of:
“He (Our Lord Jesus Christ) has supreme dominion over all and also over Mary; nevertheless, it can always be said that for a time at least, when He was living in this world, He was pleased to humble himself and be subject (in obedience) to Mary. Says St. Ambrose, ‘Jesus Christ having deigned to make Mary His Mother, inasmuch as He was her Son, He was truly obliged to obey her.’ And for this reason, says Richard of St. Laurence, ‘Of other Saints we say that they are with God; but of Mary alone can it be said that she was so far favored as to be not only herself submissive to the will of God, but even that God was subject to her will.’
Therefore we say that, even though Mary can no longer command her Son, since they are not on earth any more, still her prayers are always the prayers of a Mother and are therefore most powerful in obtaining whatever she asks…
‘The prayers of our Lady, being the prayers of a Mother, have in them something of a command; so it is impossible for her not to be heard.’- Saint Antonine”
These two passages teach us truly the level of humility that God the Son assumed to Himself in becoming man. As St. Paul says in his epistle to the Philippians, ‘He humbled Himself, taking on the nature of a slave,” and likewise says in his epistle to the Galatians, ‘In the fullness of time, God sent forth His Son, born of a Woman, born under the Law.’ The One who is Almighty and who never ceased to be the Almighty, deigned to assume human nature so fully and so completely that He indeed was obedient to His Mother, and not only his Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary. Lest we forget the magnitude of the glory of the great Saint, Joseph, let us remember that is says here – wonder of wonders! – that God the Son incarnate truly was subject in obedience to him as well, in addition to Mary His Mother. This is an incredible point that is often overlooked, it seems, in the Church Militant. I will continue this theme of Our Lord being subject to Our Lady in my next post.