Why Mary?

The Marian doctrines are rooted in sacred scripture. They consistently point to an individual who does nothing to promote herself, but always magnifies the Lord. Likewise, the Hail Mary prayer does the same thing for us, pointing us not to Mary, but to the power and glory of God Himself. For example, when Mary says, "All generations shall call me blessed," it's not because of her, but because of HIM.

Christians readily accept that Christ has two natures, True God and True Man. Contained in His human nature is His body and blood; contained in His divine nature are His soul and divinity.

Because God is so beautifully consistent, these two distinct natures of Christ are also echoed in His mother as well. As a creature, she is body and blood. As one who is made for Heaven, like us all, she has a soul. But as the mother of Christ, it was fitting for her to be infused by God in a very special way with a covenantal perfection, as she was to carry Our Lord within her womb, on her hip, and by her side.

There is no faith without reason, so let's unpack this. God is the Author of Truth, Truth being self-defined as but one reality, so faith and logic will always converge because they lead to each other, always and forever.

Remember the high priests of the Old Testament who died for being in even the same space as the Ark of the Covenant? They crossed the threshold just once a year, on the Day of Atonement, and would have a rope tied around their waist in case they died in the presence of the Ark; the rope was there so that their bodies could be pulled out in case of death, as no one else was allowed to enter into that space. (They often died.)

Knowing this, can you imagine that only the contents of the Ark of the Covenant were important? I think that's easy enough to imagine, but it's not what the bible shows us. The Ark itself is important because it was the one object on earth holy enough and perfect enough to contain such hallowed contents.

If the Ark, being a container, demanded such holiness for one to stand in its presence, what about the container of Christ Jesus? Does it stand to reason that Mary was a random Jewish girl, who God happened to stumble upon and she said yes? Or does the Old Testament show us how truly sacred, holy, and deliberate our God is? What kind of person would be able to carry the embryonic King of the Universe in her womb, and not die for lack of holiness? The wages of sin *is* death, right? [1]

If God knit us in our mother's womb, and called us by name, as Jeremiah tells us, then of course God knit Mary, too. What might He have been thinking when He was fashioning her soul - a soul to be contained in a body that would someday contain the body of Christ? Does it seem likely that the finest, most valuable materials were used for the Ark, but that God would opt for a creature hobbled by original sin to carry His only begotten Son? God is beautifully consistent, and He shows us this over and over again in scripture, and even in the seasons. Spring, summer, autumn, winter: they arrive in the same order year in, year out, because the Author of Truth (and Order) is beautifully consistent.

Now, consider a fairly recent scientific discovery which is especially exciting: fetal microchimerism. This is the name for what happens when fetal cells leave the baby and migrate into its mother's body and stay there for decades, and maybe her entire life, according to research. [Scientists have found that these fetal cells are very active in the mother's body, often helping to heal disease.][2]

Science reveals the truth of the physical world, and fetal microchimerism is a pretty awesome discovery. Because Christ was like us in all things but sin, this means that His fetal cells would have migrated into Mary's body as well, staying with her for decades, if not the rest of her life.

So what do we do with that? Is it possible that God protected her from sin throughout her life so that she would maintain the purity and holiness required to bear Him to the world, even on a cellular level? Knowing that He created fetal cells to behave in this way, does it make sense that God would arrange for Christ's own fetal cells to be carried in a sinful person throughout her life, through every spring, summer, autumn, and winter?

Because God and sin cannot occupy the same space, it would seem to make sense that Mary had to be protected from committing any sin in her life. If, by His own divine justice and mercy, God protected her from sinning during her life, does it make sense that the Lord would be contained in a mother who was stained by sin at any point at all in her life? Does it seem likely? Does it seem fitting for the Lord?

It's really spectacular when you step back and look at each piece - faith, science, logic, nature - and then you see what's been hiding there all along. None of it glorifies Mary, but every last detail points to God and His power and His absolute all-encompassing glory for Who He is, and what He can do in our lives when we give Him our own fiat, just as Mary did.

As Catholics, we look to Mary to show us the way to Jesus. Sure, we can go straight to Him, but who would suppose to know the way better than His own mother?

That God would craft a most extraordinary creature who would be a most fitting mother for His only begotten Son shouldn't surprise any of us. Not any more than we are surprised to see winter melt into spring.

[1] The New Ark: https://stpaulcenter.com/the-new-ark/?fbclid=IwAR2TQTraKZ-wBO5z6AipQP6bU0MqsDAVx9EMqNO4XwD4Q7pLn5pJPHCXx0U
[2] Fetal Microchimerism: https://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/15/science/a-pregnancy-souvenir-cells-that-are-not-your-own.html?fbclid=IwAR0cYhvjQq3K3nvAf6MZs_QET6eo8GT4iF0iW39SL9duoZc4kc_ch1kfOAM