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GOSPEL COMMENTARIES


 

 

THE HUMILITY OF MARY AND ELIZABETH 

(Luke 1:39-56)

Sin entered the world because of pride. Salvation will be accomplished through humility...but not the humility of beggars and slaves, which are natural or human, but through the humility of a God.

Obviously no human can teach this but only a God, so the necessity for Christ to become a human being precisely just to teach us this divine humility. 

Since sin entered the world through the pride of a woman, it was proper that salvation would be introduced into the world through the humility of a woman...or women. Since sin entered through Eve, it was proper that God would use Mary to help save man from that sin. 

Mary was humble and so was her cousin Elizabeth. Mary showed her divine humility in that, given so great an honor, her attention never focused on the honor but continuously on her unworthiness. It is said that Lucifer, seeing the great honor given him in being the most beautiful among the angels, forgot he was a creature...which made him proud and turned him into an ugly devil. 

Elizabeth, likewise, honored by the visit of the mother of God and proclaimed the mother of the precursor of Christ "of which none is greater born of a woman", never placed her attention on the honor but on her unworthiness: "Who am I to deserve this visit from the mother of my Lord?"

All the saints had this one common denominator--compliments, flatteries and honors never affected them. In fact, they even ran away from these. And the more important fact is that their minds were always on their sins, faults and defects-- their unworthiness, in obedience to the encouragement of the psalmist, "Take heed."

Why is this divine humility important? Because wisdom is given only to the humble--the wisdom needed to follow Christ, to attain holiness, to save one's soul. Salvation is not guess work. It is a calculated activity that needs a lot of wisdom. Elizabeth, in fact, showed a newly-acquired supernatural wisdom: "Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished." Who told Elizabeth that the Lord had made a promise to Mary that she would be the mother of God and that this promise was fulfilled? "Why am I so favored that the mother of my Lord should come to me?" How did she know that Mary was the mother of the Lord? Her wisdom was a supernatural wisdom, unattainable by human means. 

Mary, likewise, showed this wisdom that contained elements of the knowledge of the past, present and future...a prophetic wisdom. To reach holiness and attain salvation...and to be of some help to others in the sanctification of their souls, some degree of this wisdom is necessary. 

 

 

 

(updated 03-18-02)

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