57. It’s important to see clearly from the beginning that Mary belongs to the content of the mystery of salvation and consequently to the proclamation of the gospel. She is truly the Virgo praedican da. To proclaim Christ in his relationship to his Mother has been and continues to be a very valid missionary method based on the fact attested in the gospels (see Mt 2, 11; Jn 2, 5) that Mary always leads us to Jesus. As we plead in the Salve, she shows Jesus to us.
58. This was, moreover, the missionary method used in the first evangelization in America. It is Mary who introduced the Messiah to the continent. It is not without significance that the ship with which Columbus traveled to America was called the Santa Maria. It is just as significant that the first Mass celebrated in America, at Santo Domingo, was on the feast of the Visitation. John Paul II was able to say, therefore, that “Latin America was transformed into the land of the new visitation because the inhabitants accepted Christ who had been carried there, in a sense, in the womb of Mary” (Talk at Santo Domingo, 11 November 1984). Furthermore, the Virgin of Guadalupe is represented as the Mother of life: carrying the Messiah she gives birth to him on behalf of the new people being born on that continent. And this new people perceived in her face the signs of the tenderness and grace of the maternal face of God.
59. Besides belonging to the content of evangelization Mary is a spiritual model for the evangelizer. According to the document “Do Whatever He Tells You” of the 1983 general chapter (nn. 44-49) there are four biblical scenes where Mary appears proclaiming the Gospel word:
– At the Visitation (Lk 1, 39-56) Mary carries the incarnate Word in her womb to John and his par ents and proclaims the wonderful things God has accomplished in her.
– At the visit of the Magi she is the one who shows the King to the representatives of the nations to be evangelized; coming into the house “they saw the child with Mary, his Mother, and bowed and worshiped him” (Mt 2, 11).
– At the wedding in Cana it is Mary whose action provokes the beginning of Jesus’ messianic signs and the birth of faith in the disciples. She also orders obedience to the Lord with the words “Do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2, 5) – the same command that Christ himself will give to the apostles when he sends them out as missionaries.
– Lastly, before Pentecost, Mary, together with the apostles, the other women and the brothers of Jesus, prepares herself to receive the Spirit who will give the church the power to spread to the ends of the earth (Acts 1, 14).
60. The II Vatican Council sees in the Mother of Christ a great example of that “maternal affection” with which every evangelizer has to be nourished (LG 65). Like Mary, the preacher must bring Christ to birth in the hearts of his hearers – just as the Apostle says (Gal 4,119 and 1 Cor 4, 15).
61. Especially for us Servants of Mary she represents a style of evangelization. Let us recall several characteristics of this style.
– Lowliness . Mary is the lowly woman Yahweh looked on with compassion. In the same way every Servant of the Virgin has the same regard for all, is not haughty and is attentive to the lowly (see Rm 12, 16). In the Order humility has always been considered a fundamental virtue. Could it be otherwise for the Servants?
– Incarnation . Mary is the woman in whom the Word became flesh, first in her life, then in her womb. The Servant; too, must have the same realism, a faith embodied in the most varied forms of service that avoids every kind of empty and abstract spiritualism.
– Nearness . Mary was always present, in an affection ate and active way, in the life of Jesus: at Cana, at foot of the cross and in the first community. The Servant, too, must be present -and sometimes simply a presence- wherever Christ suffers from hunger, abandonment, hopelessness, helping to re deem those suffering by sharing their hardship.
Questions for community reflection
1. How is Mary present in our preaching? Is our Mariology related to the work of evangelizing, is it Christocentric?
2. Have a fraternal exchange of experiences on how the proclamation of Mary opens the way to the proclamation of Christ.
3. How is Mary an example of “maternal affection” for our relationships with people?