At the foot of the Cross he recognized her; yet, he had always known her. Even before he was born of her, he knew his Mother in her predestination. Before he, as God, created her from whom he would be created as man, he knew his Mother.
And so he created a Virgin, whom he had chosen to be his Mother; a woman who did not conceive according to the law of the sinful flesh…He chose her, to b created from her…He came into the Virgin, who existed before the Virgin. He chose the Mother he had created; he created the Mother he had chosen.
Because she had made a vow of virginity and her husband did not have to be the thief of her modesty instead of its guardian (and yet her husband was not its guardian, since it was God who guarded it; her husband was only the witness of her virginal chastity, so that her pregnancy would not be considered the result of adultery), when the angel brought her the news, she said: How can this be, since I do not know man?” (Lk 1:34). Had she intended to know man, she would not have been amazed. Her amazement is a sign of the vow.
She is clearly the Mother of his members; that is, of ourselves, because she cooperated by her charity, so that faithful Christians, members of the Head, might be born in the Church. As for the body, she is the Mother of its Head…Mary gave birth to our Head; the Church gave birth to you. Indeed, the Church also is both virgin and mother, mother because of her womb of charity, virgin because of the integrity of her faith and piety.
With the exception of the holy Virgin Mary, in whose case, out of respect for the Lord, I do not wish there to be any further question as far as sin in concerned, since how can we know what great abundance of grace was conferred on her to conquer sin in every way, seeing that she merited to conceive and bear him who certainly had no sin at all?
Because Mary says: ‘How will this happen, since I do not know man’ (Lk 1:34), calumniators might accuse her of having little faith. But she is inquiring about the “how” and does not doubt the power of God…
Zechariah, on the other hand, who spoke more or less in the same way, is reproved as unbeliever and punished by the loss of his voice. Why? Was it not because God does not judge according to the words we speak but according to what is in our hearts?
(Painting: Rembrandt ‘Nativity’)
*Follow Fr. Justin on TWITTER