Mariology 101

Mary really is the woman of listening: we see it in her encounter with the Angel and we see it again in every episode of her life, from the Wedding at Cana, to the Cross and to the day of Pentecost, when she was in the midst of the Apostles precisely to receive the Spirit. She is the symbol of openness, of the Church that awaits the coming of the Holy Spirit.

In the moment of the Annunciation, we can already detect an attitude of listening true listening, a listening that becomes interiorized, which does not simply say "yes" but assimilates the word, grasps the word and follows it with true obedience, as if it were an interiorized word, that is, as if it had become a word in me and for me, almost a form of my life. I find this very beautiful: to see this active listening, that is, a listening that attracts the word in such a way that it enters and becomes a word within me, reflecting on it and accepting it in the depths of my heart. Thus the word becomes an incarnation.

We see it in the Magnificat. We know that it is a fabric woven from Old Testament words. We see that Mary is truly a woman of listening, that she knew Scripture in her heart. She did not only know a few texts, but she identified with the word to the extent that the Old Testament words were summed up in a hymn forming within her heart and on her lips. We see that her life was really penetrated by the word. She had entered into the word, assimilating it, and it became life within her, and it was thus transformed into words of praise and a proclamation of God's greatness.

I believe St Luke, referring to Mary, says at least three times, perhaps four, that she assimilated and conserved the words of Scripture in her heart. For the Fathers she was the model of the Church, the model of the believer who cherishes the word, who carries the word within and not only reads it but interprets it with the intellect, to discern what it meant at that time and what the philological questions are. All this is interesting and important, but it is more important to hear the word that should be conserved and that becomes a word within me, becomes life and the presence of the Lord within me. So, the connection between Mariology and the theology of the word is important.

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