Today is the Feast of the Annunciation, which celebrates the life and work of Saint Mary, the Mother of God. Due to some incredible doctrinal developments in the Catholic church in the 19th century and before, many non-Catholics pay little attention to the example of faith Mary established. Thankfully, Leah Easley helps us understand how Mary can be properly honored as a stellar witness to faith in Jesus, in her piece for the Spring edition of the Center for Theology, entitled “Beyond Christmas: Honoring Mary During Lent.“
Leah shows us how Mary’s perspective as the “daughter of her Son” (Dante Alighieri) provides a fresh take on the salvific work of Jesus Christ. We are shown something about the character of God’s love, in which a perfect Jesus is born of an imperfect Mary, revealing God’s willingness to take on our shamed and cursed humanity in order to transform it.
Additionally, Leah reminds us that Mary was one of the few who witnessed the torture and death of Christ from beginning to end. Leah encourages the church to take some time during Lent to “stand with Mary” at the cross, suffering with Jesus so that, like Mary, Jesus will comfort us.
As Leah concludes, she points to Mary’s role in the participatory work of Christ’s salvation. Mary faithfully completed the genealogical line that started with Eve and ran through Abraham, Jacob, and David. As she says:
Mary is rewarded for her faithfulness through Jesus’ passion and death by an eternal dwelling with Jesus in heaven. Through her Son’s death and resurrection, Mary has victory over the dragon that plagued her at her Son’s birth, as described in Revelation 12. Mary participated in the salvation of the human race by completing the line Eve began when she gave birth to Seth: begetting children in anticipation of the coming seed who would crush the head of the serpent. Eve and Mary are saved from Satan’s clutches forever because of their trust in the seed who “makes all things new.” Thus, with Mary, we end our the Lenten journey with cries of “Alleluia! He is risen indeed!”
Please take some time to read Leah’s valuable contribution to our Lenten devotions.