“I loved her before I even knew her”
St. John Vianney said that about the Blessed Virgin Mary. As for me, I want to borrow these words and make them my own: I have, in the same sense, always loved the Blessed Virgin before I even knew her. I think that can be said by so many who know her.
Archbishop Sheen in his book The World’s First Love, writes in the first chapter (Love Begins with a Dream), that we all have an ideal love. When we encounter someone who fits this ideal our hearts know it. God is the absolute ideal…human love echoes the Eternal. And then God Himself has an ideal— it is one of two pictures: what we are and what we ought to be. But there is one human person of whom God has only one picture—the Blessed Virgin is who she ought to be. She is the ideal that God dreamt of.
In the beginning when the human race fell through one woman’s fruit, God promised restoration through another woman’s fruit (Gen. 3:15). God promised a woman and her seed both having enmity— being at total odds—with satan. This seed of the woman turned out to be God himself! He will to become a man in order to save us. The woman, His mother, had to be perfect so that she could be his mother. If we could make our own mother wouldn’t we make her perfect?
Immaculate Conception means that Mary was conceived in her mother’s womb without original Sin— that state of deprivation that we are all born into (hence the continual two pictures of ourselves). God could create her this way, it is fitting he would and so he did. This is the beginning of the re-creation in Jesus Christ, true God and true man.
The first Eve (created without original sin) corresponded to Adam’s role in bringing about the fall and the new Eve (created without original sin) corresponds to the new Adam’s role in the redemption from the fall. The first Adam dwelt in a garden of earth and the new Adam dwelt in a garden of flesh—the Immaculate Virgin Mary.
Christ is our model to follow, notes Bishop Sheen, yet He is a Divine Person—GOD—with a human nature! Our Lady is a human person. She leads us to her Son. She meditates between Christ and us as Christ meditates between the Father as us. When we look at her we know that we can become better… when we ask her to pray for us we know that we can become less sinful because she is without sin.
The Blessed Virgin is most beautiful woman who ever lived, the one who was redeemed in advance…. beautiful, pure, humble and holy. She is the “ dream woman”, the ideal that God had in his heart, “the one whom every man loves when he loves a woman – whether he knows it or not”, the one every woman wishes to be.
This is how I can say truly that I loved her before I even knew her. How much more do I love her now that I know her! The Immaculate Virgin, Mother of God is the woman I love! And if I love her, I will do what she says: “ do whatever HE tells you!”
Pray for me Holy mother of God that I may always love you!