42
THE SECOND EVE

Now this idea of Mary as the Second Eve is one of the highest and most important signification. It assigns to her a place in God's decrees, and in the Divine economy of the human race that is absolutely exceptional and unique. For as Eve was mother of all mankind, not only in the physical order of nature, but in the moral order also as regards sin, through her own personal disobedience, and her becoming a mother, as wife of Adam, after his transgression. So too, Mary was not only physically the Mother of the Incarnate Word, but her motherhood both of Himself, the Savior of mankind, and of all those whom He came to save, was of the moral order also, through her own personal faith and obedience, the consent which she gave to be herself the Mother of the Divine Word made man, and the co-operation which she bore with Him, as His Mother in the work of Redemption. And hence as the place of Eve amongst women is in the natural order, and in what relates to the heritage of original sin altogether solitary and without parallel, so too is that of Mary in the supernatural order and the economy of grace.*

What, however, we would here principally insist upon is, that this idea -- thus early impressed upon the Church's mind -- of God's ever-virgin Mother, co-operating, as an unfallen Eve in our Redemption, implicitly contains in its fulness whatever else the Catholic Church has at any time taught concerning Our Lady. The idea is, so to say, so broad and far-reaching as to cover all that has since been explicitly defined, and formed matter for the pious belief and devotion of the faithful regarding Mary's graces and privileges.


* Jesus and Mary hold a similar place in the re-creation of the human family (only how much more sublime) to that which Adam and Eve held in its creation... Eve was, so to say, second in the order of God's design. She was created to a be a helpmate to Adam. Mary, too, was elected second in the order of grace. She was created to be a handmaiden to Jesus in His Incarnation. Eve was the first to fall, Mary was the first to rise. The fall of Eve, if it had not drawn along with it the fall of Adam too, would have had no effect on the rest of her race. They would not have thereby forfeited the sanctifying grace and original justice, which God had promised. So in like manner, the personal immunity of Mary from original sin would have been of no service to the fallen children of Adam, had it not also entailed with it the Incarnation of the Word and the Nativity of the Redeemer. The first Adam was the head and representative of man, upright; and his fall was the fall of all his progeny. His sin was vicarious; and the universal stain was its consequence. The Second Adam was the Supreme Head and Representative of man fallen. His Passion, Death, Merits, Resurrection, Ascension, were the passion, death, merits, resurrection, and ascension of all. His abundant Satisfaction -- His obedience unto death -- was vicarious. And man's reconciliation with God, and restoration to grace were the joyful result. We may then surely affirm that, as without Adam there would have been no Eve; so in like manner, but for Christ Our Lord, there would have been no Mary. Her predestination is the consequence of His. She is, of truth, like the moon; for while she affectionately girdles the earth, shining upon it during the long night of its exile from God; yet her pure, tranquilising light is a simple reflectiion of the Sun, whose rising on the morning of the Resurrection will be our Light and Life during the endless days of our Bliss." Fr. Harper, Peace through the Truth, 1st series, p. 235.


 

 

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