Created Grace in Person
June 15, 2000
... I must comment page 178. Far from me to defend Pius IX. His impending canonization will only weaken and blunt this so abused instrument. But your question ["Have you ever figured out how the condition of Mary's soul at the time of her conception plays into your spiritual needs and growth?"] I answer: Yes, I figured that out. Not only I but many!
For the poem "Assumption" by Francis Thompson I even chose the melody of "I've been working on the railroad" (which my father had brought from the war, where he got to know many US-pilots shot down), and we sang this mystic song, I and some other "gamberi cotti", influenced by Fr. Klein, who for many months explained to us that we live by the Faith of the one pure Creation who never fell out of God's grace, who even is created Grace in Person, or the Church in Person. This theme goes back to the Gospel: Chaire, kecharitomene! Of course an angel is polite and called Mary by her real name. I wrote my theological licence essay about this old and broad stream of Mariology - think of the Eastern orthodox Sophia-Cathedrals.
"... She in us and we in Her are,
beating Godward - all that pine
Lo! A wonder and a terror,
the Sun has blushed the sea to wine ..."
In short: For my belief, Mary has two functions:
a) The Mother of God is the personal icon of the true Goddess Mother, the Holy Spirit, which in an unilaterally patriarchal civilisation till now could not be adored in Her own divinity;
b) Mary is the real symbol, the incarnation of the pure, never fallen one Creation (mystery of 8 Dec), by participation of Her Faith we too are "intrinsically pure". So, of course, you (with many others) are entitled to your reductionist view ("this Jewish woman"), but I must ask you - in the interest of your differently feeling readers - to take back your (at least implicit) affirmation that a sound spirituality should better live without the symbol of the Immaculata. If not, you incur the danger to hinder them to grasp your truth, seducing them to the wrong conclusion: If he knows so little of this Mystery, his other words deserve no attention.
Don't be angry: In my eyes your sober words ("intrinsically pure") contain less animating force than that picture of Her, the One totally successful work of God to whom I, poor sinner, can address my prayer - not as to my Creator but as to my fellow creature, the personal Reality of my anima - for years She accompanied me, at my side, through the Roman streets; that was my way to live celibacy, sublimating and rendering concrete my desire of HER - till 1971 I was ripe to encounter Her in the real woman of flesh and blood whom She sent me - and who right now left our little house in the via S. Margherita a'Montici to attend her Italian course while I go on thinking, browsing, sleeping ...
[From a letter written in Florence to Edward Brennan, commenting his book "The Radical Reform Of Christianity - a focus on Catholicism"]
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