During Christmastide, you may encounter at least one rendition of the popular song, “Mary, Did You Know?” The song was written by a duo of Protestant Evangelicals. Evangelical Christians generally do not believe in the Marian Catholic doctrines, hence the title of the song. As Catholics, we can provide a one word answer to the question, “Mary, did you know?” The pithy response is, “yes!” A one word answer may not suffice, so let’s dive deeper on what exactly Mary knew about the coming of the Savior into the world.
“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” – John 1:14
The Blessed Virgin Mary was chosen from the beginning of time to be the mother of the second person of the Trinity, Our Lord Jesus Christ. She would provide Christ’s humanity, His flesh, that would ultimately untwist the knot of original sin, save us from our personal sins, and redeem all of mankind on Calvary.
The archangel, Gabriel, was sent by God to visit the Blessed Virgin Mary, who was most likely a teenager at the time, approximately 13 to 16 years of age. In Luke’s gospel account of the Annunciation, Gabriel greeted her in an unusual way, “Hail, full of grace.” There’s two very distinct allusions made by Gabriel. One, Gabriel used the salutation “hail.” This is generally reserved for greeting royalty. Jesus is the King of kings, which makes Mary the Queen Mother–royalty. Second, Gabriel does not call her by name, Mary, instead he calls her “full of grace.” If a glass is full to the brim, nothing else that can enter the vessel. The same attests to Mary. If she is full of grace, then there is no room for sin of any kind.
God chose to preserve Mary from sin–the stain of original sin as well as personal sin–at the moment of her conception. Hence she is full of grace. God can save us from sin any way He chooses. Most commonly He saves us after we have committed a person sin, but He can if He chooses to save us before we sin.
To demonstrate this, imagine you came upon a hole in the ground. If you were to fall into the hole (sin) and someone (God) came along and pulled you out, that would be an act of salvation. But, if God prevented you from falling into the hole in the first place, that too is a salvific act. The latter is how Mary was saved from sin. God spared her from the very moment of her conception. God is outside of time. He can save someone any way He chooses. God found it fitting to spare Mary from all sin in order to bring Christ into the world. Jesus who was sinless took on flesh which came from Mary, who was sinless. It’s simply fitting that God chose it that way.
God must have given special graces to Mary in order for her to understand her role in salvation history. It’s not every day that a teenage girl is approached by an angel, asking her to be the Mother of God.
Mary delivers her famous Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55) making crystal clear that she knew who Jesus was; what this meant for the children of Israel and to the whole world.
The answer to “Mary, Did You Know?” can be summed up in the first chapter of Luke. Even at such a young age, Mary knew her role. Mary needed a Savior just like you and I. God is outside of time and space. He applied the sacrifice on Calvary to Mary at her conception, similar to how God applies Calvary to us almost 2,000 years later, and to people, such as Abraham and Moses, that came before Christ’s life on earth. God can save anyone at anytime He chooses. We should be ever so thankful for Mary saying yes to be the Mother of God. Thank you Mary for knowing your role and for your fiat.
by John Connor