Blessed are the breasts that nursed you

Friends in Christ, today in the gospel, at first glance, it appears that Jesus does not welcome the praise of his Mother. “Blessed is the womb that carried you and the breasts that nursed you.’ “Rather, he says, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it.’
Strange. Yet as with many mysteries in the Holy Scriptures, if we ponder it, we see something great.
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Jesus downplays relationships of the flesh, and says that the greatest in the Kingdom, are those who do God’s will. But if we stop and think of what Jesus said, we will notice that the one who DID hear God’s word, and obey it – the one who did it perfectly – is his Mother!
So Our Lord’s statement was best carried out in Mary. The crowd would not have gotten it, but the reader of the Gospel is supposed to see it. The Blessed Virgin did the will of God in her life perfectly.
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St. Francis de Sales[i] says that the members of the Church hear the Word of God often – the Lord gives his inspirations and promptings, communicates his will. But many do not listen to, or keep, this word of God. Some live only a worldly life, and frequently act contrary to these inspirations.
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Others indeed listen to the promptings of God in their life, and sometimes follow them, but more often choose their own will, the keep some back for themselves.
But Mary was different. She was blessed, because she heard the word of God and kept it.
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Consider her flight into Egypt with St. Joseph. ‘Mary, where are you going with this little Child? I am going to Egypt.
What makes you go there? God’s will.
Will it be for very long? As long as it pleases God.
When will you return? When God commands it.
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Mary DID do God’s will, better than any others, and so it is his Mother that Jesus has in mind, when he says this.
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But God’s will is also, that Mary would be our Mother. ‘Behold, she is your Mother,’ Jesus said on the Cross.
And so that lady in the crowd is speaking of us as well: ‘Blessed are the breasts that nursed you.’
Mary is nursing us, as well as Jesus: all her children.
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Richard of St. Laurence[ii] says that the breasts of Mary readily give the milk of mercy. The mercy of Mary, he says, is bestowed on all who ask it.
St. Peter Chrysologus says, this favored Virgin, having received God in her womb, demands in return, peace for the world, salvation for the lost, and life for the dead.
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Mary, pray for us, that we may be worthy children of yours;
that we may become worthy of the promises of Christ.

 

[i] The Sermons of St. Francis de Sales on Our Lady, p. 130.

[ii] Glories of Mary, p. 132

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