Before All Other Saints
Mother! whose virgin bosom was uncrost
With the least shade of thought to sin allied;
Woman! above all women glorified,
Our tainted nature's solitary boast;
Purer than foam on central ocean tost;
Brighter than eastern skies at daybreak strewn
With fancied roses, than the unblemished moon
Before her wane begins on heaven's blue coast;
Thy Image falls to earth. Yet some, I ween,
Not unforgiven the suppliant knee might bend,
As to a visible Power, in which did blend
All that was mixed and reconciled in Thee
Of mother's love with maiden purity,
Of high with low, celestial with terrene!
- William Wordsworth, 1821
First among all the saints, the most honored of God's creatures, is Mary, the ever-virgin mother of our Savior. All generations call her blessed. From all women, God chose her to be the mother of His only-begotten Son. The Lord of all blessed her greatly and sanctified her, and by virtue of the graces bestowed on her, she remained free from all taint of sin throughout her earthly life.
In this He fulfilled the promise of Genesis 3:15, which is called called the protoevangelium, or "first gospel". In that verse, the Lord says to the serpent, the deceiver, "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will crush your head, while you strike at His heel." In always choosing to do good and reject evil, our Lady showed unwavering enmity toward the serpent. She showed that it is possible for human beings, by the grace of God, to be free from all bondage to sin. She showed us that it is in fact, possible, to follow our Lord's command to be perfect as our heavenly father is perfect. (Matthew 5:48)
Pope John Paul II said that Mary, the new Eve, is "our Mother according to the Spirit". If we sincerely ask her for help, then as a good and loving mother, she is certain to aid us with her prayers, so that like her, we, too, may be the good and holy people we were made to be.
We have good reasons to believe that our Lord will listen to the prayers of His mother. One is that He performed His first public miracle in response to her intercession. Few of her words are recorded in the Gospels, all are weighted with significance. Her last recorded words are associated with that first miracle: "Do whatever He tells you" (John 2:5).
From the obscurity and poverty of her earthly life, at the end of her days, God lifted her to heaven, where “She stands at His right as a real Queen, with much boldness, clad in golden garments, attired in embroidery, according to the prophetic saying. Yea, she [stands at] the royal throne glittering as the glorious Queen of heaven and earth, and shining inside and outside with the lightings of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, as the ever-illuminating Bride and Mother of the heavenly King of Glory, Jesus Christ, our God and Saviour . . . she stands at the right side of the Son, embroidered in the virtues and gifts of purity, of holiness, everything beautiful, chosen, innocent, as the holiest of saints, noblest of the cherubim, and incomparably more glorious than the seraphim and all the heavenly hosts, being thus, next to God, venerated, glorified, and praised above all beings in heaven and earth.”
—St. John of Damascus
ween = 'to think; suppose; imagine' or 'to expect; hope; intend'
Offered in honor of Our Lady on Septuagesima Sunday, AD 2010.