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|Pontifical Work for Ecclesiastical Vocations|
New Vocations for New Europe
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23. There is a creature in whom the dialogue between the liberty of God and the liberty of man takes place in a perfect way, so that the two liberties can interact, fully realising the vocational project; a creature given to us so that, in her, we can contemplate a perfect vocational plan, that should be implemented in each one of us.
She is Mary, the image that has emerged from God's dream about the creature! In fact she is a creature like us, a small fragment into whom God has managed to pour all of his divine love; a hope given to us so that, seeing her, we too may welcome the Word, so that it may be fulfilled in us.
Mary is the woman in whom the Most Holy Trinity can fully manifest its elective liberty. As Saint Bernard says, commenting on the Angel Gabriel's message at the Annunciation: "This is not a Virgin found at the last minute, or by chance, but chosen since before time began; the Most High predestined her and prepared her".(52) This is echoed by Saint Augustine: "Before the Word was born of the Virgin, He had already predestined her as His mother".(53)
Mary is the image of the divine choice of every creature, a choice which was made from eternity, and was totally free, mysterious and loving. A choice that regularly goes beyond what the creature can imagine for himself: which asks him for the impossible and demands only one thing, the courage to trust.
The Virgin Mary is also the model of human liberty in responding to this choice. She is the sign of what God can do when he finds a creature free to welcome His proposal. Free to say "yes", free to walk the pilgrimage of faith, which will be also be the pilgrimage of her vocation as a woman called to be the Mother of the Saviour and Mother of the Church. This long journey will be completed at the foot of the cross, through an even more mysterious and sorrowful "yes" that will render her fully mother; and then again in the Cenacle, where, today, she continues, with the Spirit, to generate the Church and every vocation.
Mary, finally, is the perfectly realised image of woman, the perfect synthesis of the feminine genius and the fantasy of the Spirit, who in her finds and chooses His spouse, the virgin mother of God and man, daughter of the Most High and mother of all the living. In her every woman finds her vocation, as virgin, as bride, as mother!
52) "In laudibus Virginis Matris", Homilia II, 4: Sancti Bernardi opera, IV, Romae, Editiones Cistercenses, 1966, p. 23.
53) "In Iohannis Evangelium Tractatus VIII, 9: CCL 36, p. 87.
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