Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Sermon for the Eve of the Feast of the Visitation...

by Father Lee Nelson

I’d like to flesh out something tonight which is not talked about much in the Church, when perhaps it should be, and that is the idea of Mary as the Ark of the New Covenant.

What I hope to do is draw some parallels that will allow us to see the similarities, as well as the differences, between Mary and the Ark.

The Ark of the Covenant is the box of acacia wood, covered with gold, that the Lord commanded through Moses that the Israelites should make to house the Tablets of the Covenant, a jar of manna, and Aaron’s rod. Through the history of Israel, as outlined in not only the Exodus, but also in the Books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles, the Ark is seen to be the very presence of the Lord among the people.

Eventually, when the Temple was built, the Ark came to rest in the Temple in the Holy of Holies.

When the Temple was first destroyed by the Babylonians, the ark was taken as part of the spoils, never to be recovered again. Perhaps it was melted down into Babylonian idols, perhaps it is hidden in some government warehouse in Washington, D.C.

Mary, of course, to us is the tabernacle and Ark of the New Covenant. For nine months, she carries the presence of the Lord - the living Word - in her womb. That she is the Ark of the New Covenant is not something that theologians have drawn out over the years, it is something stated right in the pages of Scripture.

My hope is that this “mini Bible-study” of sorts will bear this out.

First, we turn to Exodus, Chapter 40. The Ark of the Covenant has just been completed and placed within the tabernacle. Exodus recounts to us the following:
“the cloud covered the meeting tent and the glory of the Lord filled the dwelling. Moses could not enter the meeting tent, because the cloud settled down upon it and the glory of the Lord filled the dwelling"

What is happening here is that the the Glory of the Lord, the shekhinah glory as it is called in the Old Testament, covers the tent of meeting - in other words it “overshadows it.”

When we turn to the Gospel of Luke we hear the Angel Gabriel tell Mary when she asks “how can this be since I am a virgin?” He tells her - “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.” Here we see that the Holy Spirit comes upon Mary and overshadows her just as the glory of the Lord overshadowed the Ark of the Old Covenant.

The difference, of course, is that Mark - the Ark of the New Covenant - contains in her body true God and true Man. The Ark of the Old Covenant did not contain a bodily presence, but the true spiritual presence of God who is a spirit.

Next, we turn to Second Samuel, Chapter 6, where we hear that the Israelites lose hold of the Ark to the Philistines. King David gathers thirty thousand men to go and take hold of the Ark again. As they’re dragging the ark across a threshing floor, an ox stumbles, and a man named Uzzah grabs hold of the Ark to keep it from falling. Well, this is not a good thing to do, and so he is struck dead by the power of the Lord.

After this, David says this, and this is the important part - “How can the ark of the LORD come to me?”

Compare this with the words of Elizabeth in todays Gospel reading: “why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”

This is a very explicit reference, one which any Jew would have picked up on. Mary is the New Ark, and within her is the presence of the Lord.

Later on in the Sixth Chapter of Second Samuel, King David leaps for joy before the Ark when it is brought into Jerusalem.

Compare this with what happens in the Gospel of Luke, especially important on this Feast of the Visitation - who leaps before the Lord - John the Baptist! He leaps in his mother Elizabeth’s womb - not because of the ark - but because of whom the ark contains - namely the Word of God, just as David had leaped before the ark - not because of the ark, but because of what the ark contained - the Word of God.

There is another parallel as well. Before bringing the Ark to Jerusalem, David places the Ark in a house belonging to Obed-edom the Gittite for three months - the exact amount of time which Mary spent with Elizabeth. In addition, both the home of Obed-edom and the home of Elizabeth and Zechariah are in the hill country of Judea, maybe a short walk from each other.

Why is all of this important?

It is important, not only because of the parallels, but because of the high place this gives not only to Jesus the Word of God, but also to Mary His Mother.
We allude to this in the Collect for the Feast of the Visitation: “Father in heaven, by whose grace the virgin mother of thy
incarnate Son was blessed in bearing him, but still more blessed in keeping thy word:”

She is blessed in bearing Him. In fact, both Elizabeth and Mary say this.

Elizabeth says “Blessed are you among women.”

Mary says “from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.” Mary, this humble girl, says this about herself.

The source of the blessing, of course, is the very presence of the Incarnate Word of God within her womb.

But, it is more than that. She is still more blessed in keeping the Word of God.
She keeps the word of God in two ways - first, in keeping Him in her womb, and second, in keeping the Commandments and remaining obedient to the Lord. This is of ultimate importance because it was only in the Protestant Reformation that anyone claimed Mary had sinned, a claim not made in Scripture. The undivided Church has always taught that Mary is without sin - that she is spotless. This is not to say that she is not in need of redemption through Her son. What it is to say is that God took the initiative in creating Mary to be a habitation well-suited to be his dwelling place.

This is why the Angel Gabriel refers to Mary as “full of grace.” Luke uses a very precise greek term which denotes that she is not only now full of grace, but always has been.

You might say a few things to this: but doesn’t this make her God? or aren’t all human beings sinners?

The reply I would give is that Adam and Eve prior to the Fall were without sin, and they were not even demi-gods. They still remained creatures. In fact, one might say that sin makes us less human. Sin, I would remind you as well is not a part of human nature.

To say “after all, we’re only human...” is not a very good excuse.

But, back to what concerns us this evening - Mary as the Ark of the New Covenant.
What we have to recognize is that Mary is most honored when she points us to her Son. The best icons of Mary and Her Son bear this out. Mary is hardly ever depicted without Her Son. Further, it is true to say that all Marian devotion is Devotion to Our Lord and Her Lord. In other words, Jesus cannot get lost in the shuffle.
But, we are still to honor Mary, just as the Israelites, under the Old Covenant, honored the Ark. We are to honor Her as our Mother and as the perfect tabernacle of the Lord Most High.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Luther, Calvin, and Trent on Justification

Task: Explain the views of either Luther or Calvin
on the justification of the sinner.

Why do Luther and Calvin insist that justification is by faith alone?

With significant reliance on Augustine and in reaction to Gabriel Biel (1420-1495), Luther insisted that justification was “by faith alone” because of the belief that humanity was totally impaired by the impact of the fall of Adam, such that nothing could tend to human salvation from the person himself. Throughout his work on justification, Luther addresses the issue of the certainty of human salvation with a somewhat novel explication of faith; in the western tradition, faith was understood to be an (intellectual) assent to the truth of what tradition teaches, whereas hope and love were understood to be functions of the will.

Luther proposes an idea of faith that is both forensic and unitive; faith “binds” us to Christ. (In Aristotelian terms, we would say that Christ is the form of faith. In interpersonal terms, we would say that faith joins us to Christ, much like a married couple is “joined,” but more deeply. If employing material terms, we would say that faith renders Christ and humanity become as having been cooked into one big lump – as a cake that’s been baked). In all of these senses, faith does not involve recognizing that you’ve been saved, but juridical a union to Christ, since Christ dwelling in the heart by faith is the righteousness that justifies us. Thus, Christ is present in the very faith itself, and the linking term to Christ is faith itself. Faith is not so much an action, but something more primordial, a kind of relationship that can create a new substance.

It is important for Luther, in his radical distrust of the human self and his insistence on the external nature of salvation, that faith takes us outside of ourselves to join us to God (as beings who have become utterly foreign to God), and makes us rely not on ourselves, but upon the truth and promise of God. Faith sees what Christ has done and naturally trusts it, leading us to look outside ourselves for faith and salvation. After all, if we looked inside ourselves we would see nothing good. But having relied on Christ with faith, faith also joins the person to Christ so that the person gains a new self.

The same can be said of Calvin, with the following qualifications and elaborations. Calvin’s concern in Institutes Book III is to resolve how we receive those benefits which the Father bestowed on His Son, that He might enrich us. As we are beneficiaries of Christ’s reward, Calvin considers how Christ’s effective merits take hold of us and are applied to us. Calvin argues that as long as Christ remains outside of us, His work is useless to us; we must obtain Christ’s benefits through faith, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, who joins us to Christ for salvation through the union with Christ that is accomplished through faith. Here, faith is defined as “a firm and certain knowledge of God’s benevolence towards us, founded on the truth of the freely given promises in Christ… revealed to our minds, sealed upon our hearts by the Holy Spirit.” Institutes III.2.7. Calvin thus balances the cognitive/affective aspects of faith in a very rich account, including both “knowledge… of benevolence… founded on the truth of a promise made in Christ (the reliability of one who has made a supreme promise to us- both revealed to the mind, sealed upon the heart,” etc.)

Thus, as with Luther, Calvin posits faith “uniting” persons to Christ, such that we are juridically made one body with Him and sharers in all that He is.

In what sense do Luther and Calvin see justification as having a forensic or legal character?

Luther and Calvin’s accounts of justification are both highly forensic; in fact, Luther often speaks as though God were fooling himself about our situation. God thus knows we are sinners, but God pretends that we are really just, in as much as we are ‘covered’ by Christ’s righteousness. (Luther’s image of choice is that of “snow falling on a dunghill.”) Luther draws these ideas Scriptural passages such as the Genesis 15/Romans 4 depiction of Abraham being “reckoned as” righteous; thus we are accounted righteous by God because Christ is righteous, not because we are righteous. These ideas were not new to medieval theology. Luther draws on previous theologians’ use of legal/economic metaphors to show that our salvation depends entirely on God’s acceptance of us through a “legal verdict” on God’s part, since no act of ours could be inherently worthy of salvation.

God’s “legal” verdict of our justification has to do with Luther’s notion of Christ’s “bearing” of human sin on the Cross, such that human sin is taken into the Logos and there traded for His imputed righteousness (significant church Fathers such as Cyril would have argued that sin does not so much “enter” Christ as it bounces off of Him , comes to an end, disappears, evaporates, disintegrates, etc. at encountering God Himself). In Luther’s scheme, Calvary is the great off- loading of sin onto Christ, so that we may take on His righteousness through a kind of legal transfer.

Calvin describes justification as the granting of mercy by Christ alone, followed by God’s acceptance, following by the remission of sins. As in Luther, righteousness is imputed by virtue of one’s union with Christ through faith.

What is the relationship between justification and holiness, or sanctification for Luther and Calvin?

For Luther, the primary sin is primordial mistrust of God’s benevolent promises; we are so corrupted by superstitions and idolatry emerging from mistrust that we can no longer see God in our natural capacities at all. Thus Luther emphasizes justification and expends separate notions of sanctification. Luther holds that having been justified, we inevitably and spontaneously begin to do good works; Luther thus makes no sharp distinction between discreet stages of “justification” and “sanctification.” Luther held that justification itself creates the substance of God in us, by our very relationship with Him itself, without any need for the ecusing cooperation of the will towards sanctification; in Luther’s own words, “faith makes the person.” For Luther, justification is the sum total of the Christian experience; sanctification has no salvific significance; sanctification is merely a sign of justification, which is given to the elect. For Luther, salvation itself has nothing to do with works of righteousness; salvation is not bound up in those works.

In sum, Luther holds that sanctification is divorced from justification, which occurs only through the imputed and alien grace of Christ; thus it would be possible to be a sinner, and yet to be saved at the same time. At the time of this imputation, the justification of the person is complete and instantaneous, occurring totally apart from the state of the person and his sanctity. While growth in holiness was important for Luther, it was not determinative, because the imputation of the alien righteousness of Christ was always purely gratuitous and far removed from anything that humanity might purport to “contribute.” Since righteousness is never our own, but always the imputed alien righteousness of Christ for Luther, the divine act of justifying pertains to the whole Christian life from the first moment on. God continually “regards” our works as righteousness, though they in reality are contaminated by sin, and only in this way are the “good works” of the justified pleasing and acceptable to God, but only in Christ.

For Calvin, sanctification plays a much more important role in Christian salvation. Calvin actually addresses sanctifcation before justification in the Institutes, presuming that given our understanding of the new life in Christ, the nature of the prior justification may be understood. Calvin makes a clear distinction between justification and sanctification, unlike Luther. Luther reasoned that having been justified, we begin to do good works; there is no such sharp distinction, since justification itself creates the substance of God in us, by the very relationship. Calvin, on the other hand, agrees that justification is a matter of forensic imputation, and the declaration of Christ’s righteousness, which must be followed by mortification/vivification. Both the benefits of justification and sanctification are received by faith, but they are very distinct.

The distinction between justification and sanctification for Calvin is best understood not as a sequential distinction, but rather as two discreet aspects of a double, twofold grace, both of which flow from Christ in our union with Him by faith, both being absolutely necessary for salvation. Though justification/sanctification are ultimately impossible to separate, in Calvin’s though, there no chronological relationship or order or priority; but the two are independent from each other, twin graces flowing from union with Christ. The two graces are necessary to one another; “we are not justified at all without works, although not at all by the works..”
Thus Calvin emphasizes sanctification, partly in response to Luther, for whom justification was the sum total of the Christian life. For Luther, sanctification has no real salvific significance. For Calvin, salvation is union with Christ and the enjoyment of the “twin graces” of union with Him. Both are integral to salvation, and are of equal value with regard to salvation, and it is impossible to have one without the other. In this regard, the Holy Spirit is very important for Calvin, since he links the Holy Spirit to the work of sanctification, which is essentially that of uniting us to Christ and participating in His life.

Calvin also emphasized sanctification as a function or sign of election; and the two are parallel graces proceeding purely from the same source; Christ justifies no one whom He does not also sanctify at the same time.

For Calvin, there is no salvation which does not include BOTH justification and sanctification; thus salvation is necessarily accomplished with good works, but works are not the sole condition.

What objections does the Council of Trent bring against the view of justification represented by Luther and Calvin? Why does Trent regard these objections as telling?

Luther’s language (more so than Calvin’s) is disturbing to some aspects of the Christian tradition. The fundamental objection is that Luther’s proposal fails to appreciate the work of the Holy Spirit, and the making of “new creatures” in Christ. It is thus objected that Luther’s proposal leaves the sinner ultimately untouched by the transformative, re-creative power of God’s love. These objections are summarized in the Canons of the Council of Trent on Justification.

Trent emphasizes the importance of human cooperation in salvation. Referring heavily to Aquinas, Trent describes a threefold chart of the movement from sin, to grace, and then to glory. In this progression, God’s initial grace justifies the sinner. The grace of God is then continually infused into the person, such that he is literally changed and re-made into the image and likeness of Christ by the grace of Christ. Trent thus insists on a kind of ‘realism’ with regard to righteousness; human righteousness is a real thing, in which a person can make progress, and which can, by God’s grace, become a characteristic of the human person. These ideas are opposed by Luther’s notion of righteousness as a mere legal fiction which God merely assigns to the person in grace.

1) The grace of God is made available to persons entirely apart from their merit or response. At baptism, the person is made a fully righteous, just human, with sins and their sins effects and punishment remitted. However, the inclination to sin remains even in the justified. The beginning of justification is thus the first movement from sin to grace when the person accepts God’s offer, and the first step is then followed by an increase in grace (this idea is opposed by Luther’s proposal that justification is final and total, and does not wax or wane, but is complete in the moment it is given).

2) Justification consists in sanctification, being made holy, not just remission of sins; rather justification and sanctification proceed together. Thus the unjust becomes just, and the enemy becomes a friend. Thus faith must be formed by love in order to amount to “saving faith;” and this sort of love must issue forth in works, and is necessary to the works.

3) Thus while the grace of conversion, as the first grace, cannot possibly be “merited” or elicited by humanity, but can only be passively received, Christians can convert themselves to their own justification, freely assenting to and cooperating with the prior, initiating grace of Christ which induces hope in God’s mercy, which blossoms further into more love of God. The process of increasing justification is thus a remission of sins and attendant, simultaneous sanctification and renewal in the making of a just man from an unjust man.

4) In sum: Trent responds to the principle of “justification by faith” by explaining that “faith is the beginning of human salvation, the foundation and root of it… brought about freely in as much as none of those things which preceed justification merit it.” Thus justification free/ but the full and final realization of it requires human cooperation in works that (brought about solely by God’s grace) evince love of God. Trent’s over-riding principle is concerned wit REAL RIGHTEOUSNESS, as opposed to Luther’s juridically declared righteousness.

Do Trent and your theologian really succeed in disagreeing about justification, or are the differences between them primarily verbal rather than substantive?

... to be resolved...


Saturday, May 12, 2007

A Sermon for Mother's Day...

Preached by Father Lee Nelson
St. Laurence Church
Southlake, Texas
May 13th, 2007

A friend of mine carries this quote in his pocket every day.

In fact, it’s on his business card.

It reads:

“The Most Important Person
The most important person on earth is a mother. She cannot claim the honor of having built Notre Dame Cathedral. She need not. She has built something more magnificent than any cathedral - a dwelling for an immortal soul, the tiny perfection of her baby’s body.....
The angels have not been blessed with such a grace. They cannot share in God’s creative miracle to bring new saints to Heaven. Only a human mother can. Mothers are closer to God the Creator than any other creature. God joins forces with mothers in performing this act of creation...
What on God’ good earth is more glorious than this:
to be a Mother.”

The thing you need to know about this friend of mine is that he was permanently disabled in Vietnam - he is bound to a wheelchair. He knows sacrifice better than most.

But, the other thing you need to know is that he runs a crisis pregnancy center in Fort Worth, right between Harris Methodist Hospital and Planned Parenthood.

When he’s in the grocery store, or out in public, and he sees a mother - maybe she’s being harassed by her children, maybe she has the look of sleepless nights in her eyes. Maybe she is young and unmarried, and pregnant.

He hands her his business card.

And they read - “Mothers are closer to God the Creator than any other creature. God joins forces with mothers in performing this act of creation...
What on God’ good earth is more glorious than this:
to be a Mother.”

You can imagine what that must be like. To be feeling like the most unappreciated person in the world, to be approached by a man in a wheelchair who lets you know that you are the most important person in the world because you cooperate with God in His most important task of bringing life to the world.

That’s the first message that I want to bring to you this morning.

That mothers are the most important people on earth.

They have been granted the greatest honor that a human being can ever receive - that of cooperating with God in the new life He gives, to be the workshop for the creation of souls.

It is a message that we need to hear, and not only on Mother’s Day. We need to hear it because motherhood is under attack in our society and culture.

We need to hear that Mothers are the most important people, because we deny it so often. When we think of success, we think about having success in business or politics, or popularity or status. Certainly not about motherhood.

And our society certainly does not send this message to our girls.

They grow in the midst of divided loyalties. They are told constantly that the same opportunities are available to them as the men, and this is true, but the cost is high. They are told to get out there on the field with the boys and succeed.
The trouble is that our society has revoked the uniqueness of womanhood from women. But the Church teaches that there is great glory in the gift of womanhood - that women are the very bedrock of humanity, and this is even more true of mothers.

The Church teaches that though equal, man and woman are not the “same.” They are different, indeed complementary - and this is God’s plan.

Mother’s Day provides us with an opportunity to reflect upon the gifts given to all women - whether they are mothers or not.

And this, again, is message that the Church needs to remember.

It is important to hear when our culture has lost sight of this essential understanding. Our culture has become so bankrupt that now some modern feminists refer to pregnancy as a “disease.”

It was not so for the first feminists. They looked to an ability to vote as their ticket to solidifying their unique place in society. They saw women working intolerable hours in factories, getting married later and later, and being detached from their children.

Even more, they saw that many women were rejecting the gift of motherhood in the most foul way. In order to avoid the shame of unwed motherhood, many women, even in the mid to late 1800s were seeking abortions.

About this, the great suffragist Susan B. Anthony wrote:
“No matter what the motive, love of ease, or a desire to save from suffering the unborn innocent, the woman is awfully guilty who commits the deed. It will burden her conscience in life, it will burden her soul in death; but oh, thrice guilty is he who...drove her to the desperation which impelled her to the crime!”

Elizabeth Cady Stanton agreed, writing:
“When we consider that women are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit.”

They saw abortion for what it was, and is, - degrading to women and mothers and inimical to the life-giving gift that God has given women.

When we fast-forward to today, the results are these:

1 and 1/3 million abortions are performed every year in this country.

Since the beginning of this Iraq war - over 5 million. Many times over the number killed in this current conflict.

The basic truth is that we should be completely sick over this tragedy. Some day in the future, generations to come might look upon abortion like we have slavery - as a horrible injustice.

In this day and age, we have to remember the simple line:
“Mothers are closer to God the Creator than any other creature.”

We must remember this so that we do not become apathetic towards life - life that is given by God in cooperation with mothers everywhere.

What is the work of every mother?

To nourish, to comfort, and to instruct.

To nourish.

It was that wonderful organization the La Leche League that reminded us in the 1950’s, when almost all babies in this country were bottle-fed, that part of a mother’s natural vocation is that of feeding her baby. It is such a part of who she is that it is built right into her body.

When so many were pushing for sameness between the sexes, it was this organization that recognized the God-given goodness that comes from breasts.

I don’t say this to be crass, but to say that it is quite amazing how over-sexualized we have become. What was at once viewed as the gift of God to babies everywhere has now been made almost pornographic. In all of this, we have denigrated a mother’s vocation to feed her children.

And then, with tv-dinners and Boston-Market, and now Central Market’s Cafe and a little place called “Dream Dinners,” we have all too often contracted this essential vocation of a mother.

I once dated a girl who boasted that the only things she knew how to cook were Mac and Cheese from a box and toast. I found her rather unattractive after that.

But, I would argue that it goes beyond food and milk.

It cuts to the heart of this problem of “sameness.”

How can we talk about womanhood and manhood in any recognizable fashion when there is no distinction between the two? How can the Church have any fruitful discussions about sex - when we have all-too-often forgotten what it really means to be created male and female?

You may find this notion rather sexist. Yet, I am serious when I say that we must recover a concept of food that goes beyond “just add water” if we are to recover sexual identity within our culture.

The simple point is this: Mothers - teach your daughters to cook - not so that they may be slaves to men, but so that they may fulfill the glory that God gives in motherhood.

To comfort!

One thing I have begun to realize in my 9-month tenure as a dad is that babies need comfort so that they can later become independent and bold.

Our little girl has been so nurtured and comforted that she is growing into a confident little 9 month old - perhaps she is a bit too confident.

Father Crary said last week that the root of the word comfort is the Latin word “fortis” meaning strong.

It is the same word that gives us the cardinal virtue of Fortitude, which is the most perfect form of strength - strength in adversity and suffering. It should not surprise us at all that children who grow up to be strong in suffering were comforted when they were younger - and the main source of comfort was to be found in their mothers.

What a great calling this is!

That mothers give strength to their children by comforting them!

We knew this growing up because our mothers had an ability to “kiss it and make it better.” I wondered about this when I a bit older - what power there was in a simple peck on a bruise - but I didn’t understand it until I understood that strength comes from comforting affection.

And God knows this. He knows that the way to generate perseverance and fortitude is through comforting love. This is why the great saints have had the courage to face their struggles - that they knew the comfort which is to be found in God - that they had become enthralled by His love.

My sisters - think upon the power that comes from the comfort you can give to your children - whether young or old.

The last thing that mothers have to offer us is instruction.

What I mean by that is not that mothers primarily teach in an academic sense, or even that they primarily teach morality to their children, though these are true.

No, mother primarily teach children the most important lesson they have to learn.
And that lesson is love.

Mothers teach by example through self-sacrifice, through self-donation. By making the simple sacrifices - they teach love.

The kitchen floor won’t return in twenty years to thank you for cleaning it.

The employer in twenty years probably won’t send you so much as a birthday card.

But, children return constantly to thank their mothers for loving them and caring for them.

The reason they give this thanks is that through the sacrifice of their mothers, they learned what it means to be people of love.

These three activities in the lives of mothers - nourishment, comfort, and instruction - are the ingredients of saints - holy people made separate for a holy task. Mothers make saints.

In the end, what God will make clear is that the most important person of all, in the history of the world, was a mother.

She was a mother who fed and nourished her son, so that he might feed the world.

She was a mother who comforted her son, so that he would be strong in the face of suffering.

She was a mother who instructed her son - who taught him the value of self-sacrifice, of self-donation for the sake of love.

The most important person of all will be, not a President, not a philosopher, not a scientist, not a business executive, but a mother - the mother of all Christians, the mother of the Church, and the mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

For when Jesus feeds us His body and blood, he feeds us with a body and blood given to Him by His mother.

The Church teaches this clearly - that his humanity comes straight from the body of Mary.

When Jesus sends the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, He knows the power of this comfort, because His the same child that was comforted by His mother. By her comfort, she made him a son fit for the battle, ready to suffer and even die for the sins of the world.

When Jesus gives His life in this way, He does so emboldened by the sacrifice of a mother who sacrifices and gave herself to Him.

Yes, it will be revealed.

The most important person in the world is a mother.

Thanks be to God.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. AMEN.