As the month of Mary draws to a close, I want to draw your attention to a book that has been on my (very lengthy) “to read” list for quite some time. A compilation of 10 essays by some of the world’s foremost Mariologists and experts on the Theology of the Body, The Virgin Mary and the Theology of the Body is and in depth look at how our Blessed Mother illuminates the message of the Theology of the Body in a profound way.
Obviously Mary is a supreme example for women of maternity and authentic femininity, but she is also an example for all human beings and how we are to accept the gift of our sexuality and live our bodily existence:
“Mary shows us how to accept the gift of our embodiedness, and this includes the God-given sex of the body. In this it is important to note that Mary’s exemplarity of what it means to accept the gift of one’s body means that the body is not an obstacle to overcome but, rather, a gift to be lived. Mary delights in her body, especially in its God-given sex: femininity. It is precisely in her gift of being a woman that Mary was fashioned and called by God to be the Theotokos [God-bearer]. The gift of her body is exactly what helps her to become the Theotokos. Just think of what would have happened if Mary had rebelled against the gift of her feminine body! We would be in a very different situation today” (Mary and the Theology of the Body, pp. 55-56).
But, while Mary was able to live this out in absolute perfection, we still must strive to increase in holiness by continually conquering sin (Eph 5:27). And so we look to Mary, “who shines forth the the whole community of the elect as the model of virtues” (Lumen Gentium, 65). Understanding of Mary’s role in salvation history helps us to understand more clearly our own personal roles in the Christian life. This is especially true when it comes understanding how we are to live according to the true meaning of our sexuality.
Among the items covered in the book are:
The nuptial meaning of the body in the marriage of Joseph and Mary
The Immaculate Conception and the human person
The significance of Mary as virgin and mother
The Virgin Mary and the culture of life
The image of God in the image of Mary as model Christian …and more