Let us gaze upon what Mary gazed upon, the ultimate fulfillment of all God’s covenants, namely, the whole mystery of Christ. On the one hand she saw in her infant son one like all other Jewish male babies – the Gospel says, “And when eight days were completed for his circumcision…” What greater proof that he was one of us and a child of Abraham than the fact that He was circumcised! Yet at the same time Mary could not doubt the word of the angel: “He will be called holy, the Son of God,” because “the power of the Most High will overshadow you...” The divine and the human: these are the two mysteries Mary held in her heart, not mixing or confusing them or leaving one aside. But at the same time, Mary maintained but one focus: taking her child in her arms and holding him close as only a mother can, she gazed on her little son, this little person in whom somehow the divine and the human were personally united. Her embrace was like that Sabbath rest with which God embraced the whole mystery of His creation, but here we have the mystery of a new creation. Mary is the great sign of God’s new and eternal covenant, and she leads us to that covenant today. In the Eucharist we partake of the marvelous exchange – simple bread and humble wine become the true body and blood of Mary’s Son, our one Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the Culmination of all God’s covenants, who lives and reigns for ever and ever!
Orazio Gentileschi, Italian ( 1563 - 1639), The Virgin with the Sleeping Christ Child, c. 1610, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard. Reflection by Father Vincent.