Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Reflection
God makes a promise, God proclaims it, and Holy Scripture, God’s Word affirms it: it is the woman who will crush the head of evil and deceit that brings disintegration and death.1
Today Mary, the daughter of Eve, the Theotokos, the God-Bearer, confirms God’s promise in her great gospel prophecy: the Empire of the God of War, the Death Bringer, is to be thrown down from its throne of power, together with their great dynasties in all their pride; the emperors, the Kings, and the Princes, all the victors of war. These are the followers of Mars, the oppressive victors who have made themselves into gods and the vanquished they have forced into slavery. This is the great prophecy of the God-bearer, that Love will always vanquish evil; a mother’s Love replaces death by the seed of her womb.
Today we celebrate the great feast of this daughter of Eve, the spouse of the Holy Spirit, and the God-Bearer, being assumed into heaven, into the Godhead itself. This gives us a new perspective of that matrix of life; reflecting the Love of God, the Love of Christ, and the Love of the Holy Spirit through the lens of a mother’s heart. This is the new matrix proclaimed by Jesus, the transformation of consciousness, the founding of God’s kingdom, a new order based on justice, mercy, inclusivity, and Love. We are born of Love. Love is our mother.
A new understanding that Jesus himself noted is beyond the comprehension of the powerful and the clever. This is a wisdom that cannot be made manifest through the warrior nature of death, through our drive to succeed and to win, or even through our quest for knowledge. This is the new understanding given to children who gaze into a mother’s eyes and know Love through their needing and their trust.
In describing the special treasure of woman, Pope St John Paul II wrote of their special and ‘unique feminine genius of Love’, “Thank you, women, who work! You are present and active in every area of life-social, economic, cultural, artistic and political. In this way, you make an indispensable contribution to the growth of a culture which unites reason and feeling, to a model of life ever open to the sense of ‘mystery’, to the establishment of economic and political structures ever more worthy of humanity.” It is thus that we call the church ‘Mother’, and rightly so!
Why then have we silenced their voices in the gatherings of the community? Why then have we excluded these woman from their role as God-bearers at the table of the Lord? How much of God remains veiled because of these exclusions?
It has often been noted that when the feminine guides the masculine, there is a higher probability that masculinity’s actions will be more moderated, softer and more humane, and far more trustworthy. Without this feminine guidance, our male anxiety and fear of losing control lead us into those compulsive actions that must always seek to dominate.
For this reason, feminine guidance must be applied as we seek new solutions in the crisis facing our stumbling church and our suffering earth.
The Dalai Lama recently stated that it is only Love can save our world from the crisis of global warming. We must, therefore, turn to those that we affirm as a genius in this field, those who abide in the genius of Love. For this Love to grow and flourish, we must recognise the hidden potential in weakness and vulnerability. With this genius of Love, we are able to touch wisdom that is both mysterious and multi-dimensional. This is the awareness of the sacredness of the other, the sacredness of relationships as well as an experience of Earth’s sacredness. This is the awareness of Love that grasps our interconnectedness.
As in heaven, so on earth! Our patriarchal deity has led us to an earthly culture of batterers enforcing what we want through will and power; all those holy wars that continue to tear our world apart. Our move to a new structure must embrace this Love to replace power, freedom to replace control, and liberation to replace exclusion and oppression. Any continued denial of the feminine within the patriarchal Deity will only lead to further dysfunction, wrath, judgment, ignorance, jealousy, dividing and segregating, all of which feed the darkness of evil that both craves and canonises death and annihilation.
Mary, our mother, assumed into heaven, give us the necessary courage to divest ourselves of those privileges and those exclusive rights that separate and dominate, especially the rights associated with those separated and ‘raised to the dignity of the priesthood’. Give us a taste of that wondrous beauty that is the intrinsic dignity of each and every man and woman, and in every child made in your image. Give us a taste of that wondrous beauty that is intrinsic to all of creation, intrinsic to every animal, to all the rivers and mountains, to the forests and the seas.
Despite the Hebrew text having a masculine pronoun and a masculine verb (=”he will strike”), and despite the Greek having a masculine pronoun, the Douay-Rheims Bible and the Jerusalem Bible translates from the Latin Vulgate which has ipsa (“she”): “I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel” (DRB, italics added)
Since the snake and the woman are the main figures being spoken about in Genesis 3:15, the translation or interpretation of “she” is reasonable, especially as God tells the snake that the woman will be his enemy. Furthermore, most understand that the words were spoken to the woman in the following verse, Genesis 3:16, potentially apply, not just to Eve, but to Eve’s daughters and not to her sons. So perhaps the words in Genesis 3:15 likewise may apply especially to Eve’s daughters, or to one daughter in particular.