You are on page 1of 2

We Need Mary

By Fr. Nelson Medina, O.P.

The Blessed Virgin Mary was evangelised by the Holy Archangel Gabriel. We can see
the whole scene of the Annunciation as a defining moment in transmitting the
gospel, that is, as a profound and beautiful lesson on evangelising.

Had you ever note that evangelising has an ‘angel’ within? It is not a pun–it goes
down to the Greek roots of our own language. Angelos, in Greek, means: messenger;
Eu-aggelon means: good news. Evangelise is to be like an Angel, like a new Gabriel
telling people the great news of God’s love.

The same Gospel that tells us the story of the Annunciation shortly after tells us
of the Visitation. There is more than a chronological order in this. There is an
inner logic that goes from receiving the gospel, as Mary did in the Annunciation,
to sharing the gospel, as Mary did in visiting Elizabeth. Please, observe that you
can replace “gospel” for “the adorable person of Jesus Christ” and the effect is
the same: we receive Christ when we accept the gospel; we announce Christ when we
share what we believe.

The Blessed Virgin is therefore the very model of every true Christian life. There
is no Christian life without Christ, but Christ will not remain idle within the
hearts of the believers. It is to be expected that whoever embraces his Word is in
turn compelled to offer that same word of salvation to others.

Frank Duff saw all this with great clarity and acted accordingly. He saw that Mary
is the best definition of Christian life, for it is not a static model but a
living testimony of the beauty and power of Christ’s grace and message. Without
the Saints, speaking in general, and I dare to say: without Mary, speaking in
particular, we are at great risk of considering the gospel only as a set of nicely
connected terms.

Yet we do not, or at least should not, speak of Jesus Christ as a set of writings,
a good portion of knowledge, alike Mohammad’s teachings or the Buddha’s sentences.
There is a lot of wise people all around, and many of them are really clever in
crafting beautiful and meaningful phrases. Nonetheless, Christ is not another one
in the long line of the wise and remarkable speakers of this world. As believers,
we claim that it is not his teaching but He himself who acts upon the hearts of
those who believe. Christ’s message is not life-changing because we decide to
change and make the effort but because we decide to believe and open our being to
the One we trust can change us.

If you were a Muslim, or a Buddhist, you had to make the effort of putting in to
practice what you learnt from the Koran or from the sayings of the Buddha. If you
are a Christian though your effort aims above all to one thing, just one thing: to
accept that Jesus is the living Lord of your life, and that He will actively
transform your mind, of course, but also your will, your memory, your fantasy,
your imagination, your body, so that you resemble more and more his Body, that was
risen from the dead.

Indeed, your life will change! However it is not you, but Christ, the living
Christ, who is to transform and change everything in you.

To come to believe with all our heart that Christ is alive and life-giving we need
more than mere words. We have to see lives truly and deeply changed by Him. This
is why we need the Church. The Protestant teaching of ‘Sola Scriptura’ is utterly
wrong, for we need the community and not only the book. We need the Church, we
need Christ’s Body, which is the Church, in order to believe that Christ’s message
is not only a set of nicely jointed words.

Even more: what we need from the Church is not firstly her passing structural or
institutional services but the Holiness that dwells in Her. In touching, in being
in touch with the transformation that the Risen Lord produces in the believers we
come to trust in His contagious love and his far-reaching compassion.

By the same token, we need Mary. We really need Her. We, the Church, need Mary,
for we are in great need of seeing the end of the story, the finished version, the
final outcome of Christ’s proposal. In Her we behold Christ’s grace in all its
splendour. In Her we learn that Christ is not watching us from afar but watching
over us from within.