While contemplating the Glorious Mysteries of the rosary, I was struck by the parallels between the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus and the Assumption and Coronation of Mary. Hence the following musings:
When God created humankind in His image and likeness, it required both male and female to express that image and likeness (Genesis 1:27). In his Theology of the Body 9:3, Pope St. John Paul II writes that it is in relationship with each other that we particularly express that image and likeness: “man became the image of God not only through his own humanity, but also through the communion of persons, which man and woman form from the very beginning.” This reality is especially evident in the life-giving, self-gifting love of marriage which brings about the third person of the child, thus mirroring more completely the three Persons of the Blessed Trinity.
It thus seems very fitting that redemption would be made manifest in both a male (Jesus) and a female (Mary). An important aspect of masculinity is that of initiating. Jesus, God Incarnate, initiates and effects our redemption from sin and death. He triumphs over the grave in the Resurrection and brings redeemed humanity into the presence of God in the Ascension. To femininity belongs the gift of responding to that male initiation. Mary responds with her whole heart to God’s initiative in redemption and helps to complete the beautiful drama of redemption when female humanity is also drawn, magnet-like, into God’s presence in the Assumption and shares in His triumph in the Coronation.
And who is the child, the third person of this redeemed image and likeness of God? The Church, born when the Holy Spirit descends at Pentecost (the third Glorious Mystery).
Now-Bishop, then-Father, Robert Barron articulates a fascinating theological principle in his Catholicism DVD series that may prove helpful here. He says that when God intends to work something in the Church as a whole, He first accomplishes it in one person (my paraphrase). I believe that we are all meant to follow the example and path of Mary in responding wholeheartedly to God’s offer of salvation. In a sense, all of humanity is in the role of responder to God’s initiative. This is what is conveyed in the Biblical image of the Church as the Bride of Christ.
Let us give a resounding “Yes!” to God’s invitation to join Him in glory through our Lord Jesus Christ!