Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom
Clearly Our Lady is not named “Seat of Wisdom” solely because she bore Christ in her womb and held him in her lap. Our Lady was most blessed in her Faith, by which she believed and accepted the message of the angel. She was blessed in the love with which she lived out the fulfilment of that message and her docility to the work of the Holy Spirit within her. Faith (as we have seen) is the pre-requisite of the wonderful gifts of the Holy Spirit, who dwells in us from Baptism, but in Our lady, by special dispensation, from her conception in her mother’s womb. Nor does her fullness of grace separate her from the rest of us; the special graces and gifts of Mary, writes Fr Durrwell, are “those of fullness not of exception….In contemplating (Mary) Christians have the joy of discovering the grace that God intends for them,” and consequently the discipleship of Christ that God desires of us.
St Augustine (in a passage used by the Breviary in Advent) offers us an interesting way of looking at our relationship with Our Lady, our teacher in Christ. Consider, he says, the way in which we exchange information: “If I think of what I want to say, the word is already in my heart….so wanting the word which is already in my heart to come over to and make its way into your heart, I make use of my voice to talk to you….and when my voice has done this, it ceases; but the word carried to you by the sound is now already in your heart, and has not left mine.”
If I accept your word we are, for a moment at least, united, at one in that word.
Jesus, the Word, is the only word in Our Lady’s heart and mind; it is the Word she longs to speak to the hearts of each one of us so that he, her Son, may become the Word that we in our turn speak to others.
Adam and Eve ‘walked with God’; before their fall they were intimate with him. Now, all these centuries later, once again, through Our Lady’s ‘yes’ and Our Lord’s passion and death and through Baptism, men and women may once more ‘walk with God’ in Faith if they so choose.
Our Lady chose - and in both body and mind became the Mother of the Word and Wisdom of God. Through the Gift of Wisdom of her Son’s Holy Spirit, she receives and ponders in her mind, judging and loving all things by that same Word and Wisdom of God.
Now, in the final fullness of her grace and glory, she has become for us the most perfect example of what it means to be a child of the Father and disciple of her Son. She is so full of the Holy Spirit and his gifts, so bound to her Son, the source of those gifts, that she shares with him in spreading the light of truth and wisdom here on earth, throughout her Son’s Mystical Body, the Church.
St Louis Marie de Montfort: “If it is true to say that Mary is, in a sense, mistress of Wisdom Incarnate, what control must she have over all the gifts and graces of God and what freedom must she enjoy in giving them to whom she chooses.
The Fathers of the Church tell us that Mary is an immense ocean of all the perfections of God, a great storehouse of all his possessions, the inexhaustible treasury of the Lord, as well as the Treasurer and Dispenser of all his gifts”
She received the Word spoken to her by the Father and the Word became her own in spirit and flesh. She gave the Maker of the World his human nature but equally and perhaps even more so, she gave this Word a voice: a voice that speaks through the ages to us her children. If we listen to her, if we allow her Word into our hearts, she becomes a source of growth, of wisdom to us.
St Bernard: “Listen to Christ himself,<If a man loves me, he will keep my word and my Father will love him and we will come to him.> I have read elsewhere, <The man who fears the Lord will do good.> but it is my opinion that more was said of the one who loves, namely that he will keep the words. Where then are they to be kept? Without any doubt they are to be kept in the heart…keep the Word of God in that way, for <Blessed are those who keep it>.”
“Let us hold on to the word” says St Augustine, “ and not let slip the word that we have inwardly conceived.”