Aim: To understand the call of Mary to be the disciple and associate of Christ in the mystery of our salvation.
Inseparably united (Jn 2:1-12): On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine”. And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come”. His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you”. Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water”. And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward”. So they took it. When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now”. Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.
To understand Mary, in relationship with Jesus, we are to picture her first as “disciple of his Word”. On at least two occasions St. Luke presents her in an attitude of “continually pondering and treasuring in her heart” all the things concerning Jesus (cf. Lk 2:19.51). Pondering and treasuring are the typical complementary activities of a disciple or a person engaged in probing the meaning of the Word of God.
It is this contemplative spirit that makes Mary “mother in her heart” even before she becomes mother in her body. It is her profound and generous response to discipleship that makes her wholly united to her Master and entitles her to be addressed as “woman” – like the life-begetter “woman” of Genesis – inseparably united to the “man” Jesus in bringing about new life or redeeming the world.
And so Mary, the disciple of the Word, is also a creative co-partner of Jesus in the salvific plan of God as well as in the spiritual growth of the believers. This is clearly stated by Jesus from the cross: “When he saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, here is your son’. Then he said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother’. And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home” (Jn 19:26-27).
To describe the degree of unity between Jesus and Mary, Montfort writes: “So closely are they united that one is wholly in the other. Jesus is all in Mary and Mary is all in Jesus. Or rather, it is no longer she who lives, but Jesus alone who lives in her. It would be easier to separate light from the sun than Mary from Jesus. So united are they that our Lord may be called, ‘Jesus of Mary’, and his Mother ‘Mary of Jesus’” (TD 247).
The good news is that the intimate and inseparable union of Mary with Jesus defines her task towards her devoted children, which is to present Jesus to their life and to shape his image in them. Mary has been consistently performing this task, from the time Jesus was born and she presented him to the shepherds and the magi (Lk 2:16; Mt 2:11), to the moment Jesus began his ministry at Cana (Jn 2:5), down to the time of Pentecost when the disciples gathered and prayed with her in the Cenacle (Acts 1:14).
Montfort adds that the task of Mary to mould her servants into the likeness of Jesus continues on to this day: “Rest assured that the more you turn to Mary in your prayers, meditations, actions and sufferings, […] the more surely you will discover Jesus. For he is always greater, more powerful, more active, and more mysterious when acting through Mary than he is in any other creature in the universe, or even in heaven. Thus Mary, so divinely favoured and so lost in God, is far from being an obstacle to good people who are striving for union with him. There has never been and there never will be a creature so ready to help us in achieving that union more effectively, for she will dispense to us all the graces to attain that end” (TD 165).
Personal Reflection and Sharing
Mary and Jesus are inseparably united because they are naturally related to each other, but also because they are fondly engaged with my personal story. How does this make me feel? And more specifically, how do I react to the assuring words of Montfort that “the more I turn to Mary the more surely I discover Jesus”?