Address by Bishop Brendan Kelly, Bishop of Achonry
Kildare and Leighlin Diocesan Congress March 8-9, 2013
Congress Theme: LORD, INCREASE OUR FAITH
click on link to download full text – ‘Praying the Faith: Mary treasured all these things in her heart’
…I mentioned at the beginning that our faith is a treasure, born like the church itself, in the prayer of Mary at the Annunciation, her response to hearing the word of God. The word ‘treasure’ is the one that is used twice of Mary’s reaction to the events of the Infancy of her child, Jesus.
In Chapter 2, verse 19 of his Gospel, St Luke tells us that after she had given birth and the shepherds had left, ‘Mary treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart’. ‘These things’ refers to the experiences she’s just had around the birth of her child and the visit of the shepherds, all she has heard and seen.
Then 42 verses later in Luke 2:51, at the end of the episode in which they lost their 12 year old in the Temple, Luke again tells us ‘His mother treasured all these things in her heart’. The word ‘treasure’ has to do with what is rich to me, what has most value to me. To treasure then means to value above all else, – as Jesus clearly valued his time aside with the Father. What St Luke is telling us then is that Mary was profoundly a woman of prayer
Christian prayer begins in treasuring and pondering these things: the events of Jesus’ life and the words he spoke, the way of life he wants us to adopt. That’s where Mary shows us the way, with regard to our own life and experience. Mary is the first Christian, and always the model for every Christian. She is ‘Mother of the Church’. That ancient title of St Ambrose was given to Mary officially by Pope Paul VI during the Second Vatican Council.
That Mary is Mother of the Church is a truth recovered for the church by the Vatican Council and proclaimed in the Constitution on the Church, ‘Lumen Gentium’. ‘This sacred Synod intends to describe with diligence the role of the Blessed Virgin in the Mystery of the Incarnate Word and the Mystical Body’ –LG 54 – Mary is to be seen always in relation to her child, Jesus and in relation to his Body, the church, the people of God, you and I, believers, followers, amongst whom she is the first, and the mother of all…