Next Tuesday we will begin our Advent study of Mary. I have asked Fr. Gabriel to return to lead us through a deeper understanding of who Mary is. Most of the Church’s biographical information about Mary is found in Luke 1 and early church tradition. The most significant of this early tradition is the Protoevangelium of James which recounts the conception and childhood of Mary. The Protoevangelium (“first gospel”) dates from about 150 and is first referenced by Origin of Alexandria in the late 2nd century. It is from these very earliest church traditions that Mary has been seen as playing the most important part of salvation history (save for the Triune God). As affirmed at the third ecumenical Council of Ephesus in 431, Mary is the “Theotokos” or the “god-bearer” and thus necessarily draws our attention to the full nature of Jesus as fully God and fully human united in a single person. Like the Tabernacle in the Old Testament, it is in Mary that the Deity dwelt.
In preparation for next Tuesday, please re-read the beginning of Luke’s Gospel and the the Protoevangelium which is attached. Also, in this season of Advent, think through the role that Mary plays in the Incarnation and how she is an example for us. Hope to see you next week.
My soul doth magnify the Lord, *Song of Mary (Magnificant) (1979 BCP 50)
and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior.
For he hath regarded *
the lowliness of his handmaiden.
For behold from henceforth *
all generations shall call me blessed.
For he that is mighty hath magnified me, *
and holy is his Name.
And his mercy is on them that fear him *
throughout all generations.
He hath showed strength with his arm; *
he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat, *
and hath exalted the humble and meek.
He hath filled the hungry with good things, *
and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He remembering his mercy hath holpen his servant Israel, *
as he promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed for ever.