Friday, November 6, 2009

To be immaculate or not

It's hard to miss the intense discussion that Clayboy has initiated on De-Christian beliefs. I looked where John Hobbins pointed in a comment, and I note also that I have stayed away from the subject of Mary in the same way I have stayed away from Evolution / Creation. But here goes anyway. The referenced "Statement of Evangelicals and Catholics Together" has this sentence

The typological reading of Mary, and of Christ, in the Old Testament is at the heart of the Christian understanding of the relation of continuity and fulfillment between the Old Covenant and the New.
 It is quite a mouthful. I have an immediate gut reaction that a typological reading cannot be a foundation for anything. I think a typological reading is a response to a foundation, not the foundation itself. But the typological image is worth considering. Paul says somewhere that he labours that Christ should be born in us. What would that mean? That we are Mary? or that Mary is the reality that we are to be in ourselves as anointed? If so, then it is vital that her state be immaculate - not because she is any different as a human in herself but because we in Christ or with Christ in us, also are declared immaculate. Such a cleansing is not to be scoffed at but to be desired.

Earlier in the same document:
Mary is the long-awaited daughter of Israel, in fulfillment of biblical prophecy. She stands strikingly between the Old Covenant and the New, her child being recognized by Simeon in the Temple as the long awaited “consolation of Israel.”
I find this a bit confusing - am I to search the Old Testament for the prophecy of Mary? No. Daughter of Zion is a synonym for Israel. Does anyone need to stand between the Old and the New? The same Spirit teaches from both and in both.

Consolation is also to be desired, and it is found through the same Spirit whether by Simeon in the Temple or by us in the temple of our bodies. This is literally the making of sense and the creation of the world. As Paul writes: if anyone is in Christ - there is, this is, she is, he is a new creation. That is immaculate. Reserved, incorruptible, as Peter says in his first letter. It is not confined to Mary, archetype though she be. It is shared by the psalmist (Psalm 32) and by all those called in all nations to praise (Psalm 117).

If this is what is implied by the doctrine of the immaculate conception - then I am all for it. But it has a wholeness that must be shared. Its application to Mary is unique, but not exclusive - nor is it between but all-encompassing. Must I conclude that each of us is to be a mother of God, a bearer of Christ?

No comments: