Abba, Father! Send the Spirit of Your Son into Our Hearts!

This is the first of a series of articles on Mary in the scriptures, intended for Advent study.
by Virginia M. Kimball | Source:

Mary was the mother who bore Christ into this broken and hurting world.  That was 2,000 years ago.  But, Mary is still mother to the world, still bearing God’s presence into our midst.  We begin Advent with sense of joy … not only is Christ going to come on the treasured day of Christmas, he will be with us in our hearts each day as his mother carries us with love to him. 

One of the most sacred ways to discover this remarkable mothering of Mary is through prayer.  We lift our lamentation and our hope to her so that she will grasp our childlike hands and comfort us on our path to Christ.  

Another sacred way to find our mother of mothers is to search and read the scriptures. She is the lone woman who is recorded in scripture to any significant degree. The words we find are precious and, indeed, sparse – and yet far more than any other woman in the Bible. 

If we carefully read these passages and reflect on them, we will come to know her better and strengthen our relationship with her.  We yearn to know about her because we love her.  If we love her, as in any loving relationship, we come to know her more dearly and more nearly by studying these scriptural texts. 

We are most familiar with the words of the evangelists Matthew and Luke, which are called the “birth narratives.”  They record God’s call to Mary and Joseph to become the caretakes of His Son, the remarkable nativity account, and all the events surrounding that remarkable moment. However, before we consider these passages, we turn to a letter that St. Paul wrote to the new believers in .

Here we find two precious verses written by Paul. Scholars say that Paul’s letter to the Galatians was written about 54 C.E. (or A.D.), meaning that this is earlier than the gospels. In this short passage, we find reference to Mary but not by name. That might seem strange, at first, but these few words are powerful. Paul says that when the moment in time had arrived for redemption, God sent his Son to earth. He would be born to a woman.  Of course, how could a child be born any other way? But to the people of the first century, with the influence of Roman culture, gods would have to be born to a goddess. No one would blink an eye at another god and goddess tale that resembled so much the goddess they knew, inherited originally from , of Isis and her son Horus.  The images that are found of this mother and son duo can look exactly like Mary and her son Jesus. But at that time, it was absolutely incredible - and so Paul points it out - that the One God of the faithful Jews would be born to a human woman. Later in history, this mere fact will come to establish the true humanity of Jesus.  Galatians 4:6 should become our prayer for the beginning of Advent: Because we are God’s children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts. We will cry: “Abba, Father!  [This means God is like a dear and cherished “Daddy”!] We are no longer going to be slaves to ourselves, but because we are children in the hands of God we will receive all the gifts of life that God will offer now and forever, through Christ his Son!  See: Galatians 4: 4-5

Once we realize that we are, indeed, the cherished children of God who do trust in his care and loving gifts of life, we can continue in studying the important texts of Mary. This Advent, reading the treasured scriptural texts on Mary, we will walk ever closer to her Son. 

Coming next … 

Luke chapters 1 and 2

Matthew 1


John, a Prologue and Standing at the Cross

The Synoptic Passion Narratives


The Hebrew scriptures – prophecy, expectation, typology of the Virgin’s

 Reality in the mystical symbols of the Ark , the Cloud, the Burning Bush,

 Nebuchadnezzar’s Mountain, and Jacob’s ladder.  

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