For Advent this year, Fr. Gabriel Bullock of St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church is leading us in a study of Mary. As background to our study, I am reading through the Protoevangelium of James, Mary and The Fathers of the Church by Luigi Gambero, and The Mystery of Christ by The Very Rev. John Behr. This study is for two weeks.
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.
Irenaeus says that Mary is the new Eve. Just as Eve caused sin to enter the world, so Mary caused the salvation of humankind to enter the world.
Fr. Gabriel brought out two points concerning the role of Mary. First, Mary always points to Jesus. The second point is to see Mary as the personification of the Church.
How does your soul magnify the Lord? How does your spirit rejoice in God our Saviour? In what ways does God cast down the mighty and lift up the lowly in your life?
Mary’s hymn is not a wholly original composition but draws heavily on then-existing scriptures, and particularly the Song of Hanna and various Psalms.