A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Quote of the Day: Hauerwas on Mary as Abraham

Without Mary's obedience, without Mary's willingness to receive the Holy Spirit, our salvation would be in doubt. Raniero Cantalamessa, therefore, quite rightly entitles his 1992 book Mary: Mirror of the Church. With some justification Mary is often identified as the second Eve, but Mary is also our Abraham. Just as Abraham obeyed God's call for him to leave his familiar land to journey to a foreign destination, so Mary through her willingness to become the very Mother of God is the beginning of the church. She is the firstborn of the new creation faithfully responding to the Son who calls into being a new people. Just as Abraham is the father of Israel, so Mary is the mother of the church.

All of this means that when Christians lose the significance of Mary in the economy of salvation we also risk losing our relation with the people of Israel. Jesus is born of a Jewish mother. His flesh is Jewish flesh. To be sure Jewish flesh is human, but Christians dare not forget that the flesh that is 'very man' is particularly the flesh of Mary. Matthew will not let us forget that the one born of Mary is he who has come to free Israel from its sins. Jesus is very God and very man, but that formula does not mean we can ever forget that the God he is, and the man he is, is the same God that has promised to always be faithful to the people of Israel.

Stanley Hauerwas, Matthew (London, SCM Press, 2006), p. 36.
Update: Kim Fabricius adds an additional comment at Connexions: I would add just one caveat - a good word for Joseph! Indeed a most excellent word. In fact, Karl Barth went so far as to say (in a letter written in 1963): “I find this biblical figure, so moving and obedient and subservient, much more appropriate as a protector (et exemplar) ecclesiae than Mary, with whose function that of the church cannot be compared.” Joseph was both daring and caring. He’s the real hero of the Christmas story. Call Joseph, also a Jew of course, the step-father of the church (vitricus ecclesiae)!

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