The Woman of Genesis 3: 15
The Blessed Virgin Mary is a composite of the brave women of the Old Covenant and more. She is the Co-Redemptrix, Advocate and Mediatrix of graces. The Lord foretold her mission, her crucial role in salvation history in Genesis 3: 15 and so reinforced with her appearance at Fatima.
"Mary is all of these women together, because she fulfills the prophecy of Genesis in all of these ways. She is the New Eve, because she was victorious over the devil from the first moment of her Immaculate Conception. She is Sara, because she believed the words of the Angel Gabriel that she was to become the Mother of the Savior. She is Debora, because she accompanies the Church and leads it courageous in the battle with the Dragon. She is Jahel, because she crushes the head of the serpent. She is Anna because she gives up her Divine Son as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. She is Judith, because she is the glory of Jerusalem, the joy of Israel, and the honor of our people. She is Esther because she intercedes for the lives of her people before the throne of the King of Heaven."
Editor's Note: In Father Louis Campbell's sermon for the Second Sunday After Epiphany, he concentrates on today's Gospel - the Wedding Feast at Cana and its overall significance in salvation history. He shows where the 'woman' referred to by the Lord God in Genesis 3: 15 could be none other than the Blessed Virgin Mary, whose virtues are displayed in part by various great women of the Bible, but none to the fullness of pure virtue exemplified by the Mother of God. In these times when feminism rams its collective head at the walls of decency and tradition, it is time for all to realize the true role models are not found in the entertainment industry, or in political or pagan movements, but in the woman above all women - the Immaculate Virgin - Morning Star - Stella Matutina - our Janua Caeli - Gate of Heaven who tells us in the simplest way "Do whatever He tells you." [bold and italics below are editor's emphasis.]
"Who is this that comes forth like the dawn, as beautiful as the moon, as resplendent as the sun?" (Canticles 6: 10). These words from the Canticle of Canticles are applied by the Church to the Blessed Virgin Mary on some of her feast days. We may wonder, indeed, who this mysterious woman is who can demand a miracle of the Son of God Himself and be fully confident of receiving it, and this in spite of an apparent refusal: "What wouldst thou have Me do, woman? My hour has not yet come" (Jn.2:4). It doesn't stop her. "Do whatever He tells you," she says to the attendants (Jn.2:5). And in obedience to her request, her Divine Son changes water into wine.
Father Louis J. Campbell
Some are mildly scandalized that Jesus should address His Mother as "Woman", and they try to soften it by saying it was a title of respect in those times, like "Madam", or "Lady". But Jesus was making an important statement. He was referring to the prophecy from the Book of Genesis: "I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel" (Gn.3:15). Jesus was identifying His Mother as the Woman. If He was the "seed", then who but Mary could be "the woman"?
The prophecy of Genesis 3:15 was partially fulfilled by other women of the Bible before Mary's time. Eve, of course, was the original woman. St. Paul says of Sara, the wife of Abraham this: "By faith even Sara herself, who was barren, received power for the conception of a child when she was past the time of life, because she believed that he who had given the promise was faithful" (Heb.11:11).
Debora was a prophetess, and one of the judges who guided Israel before the time of the kings. The Israelites were at that time living in servitude under the Canaanite king, Jabin, and his general, Sisara. Debora told Barac from Nephthali that God wanted him to attack and defeat Sisara, but Barac refused to go into battle unless Debora went with him. Debora consented, but told Barac that the victory over Sisara would be stolen from him by a woman (Judges 4:9). She was referring to Jahel, who harbored Sisara as he was fleeing in defeat from Barac, but when he fell into an exhausted sleep she killed him by driving a tent peg through his temple (Judges 4:21). Debora called Jahel: "Blessed among women" (Judges 5:24).
Anna, the wife of Elcana, was childless until she prayed to the Lord, and He granted her a son who became the prophet Samuel. Anna gave him up to the service of the Lord in the Temple when he was very young. Anna's song of thanksgiving begins: "My heart hath rejoiced in the Lordů," (1Kings 2:1), words which recall Mary's Magnificat.
Judith was a Jewish widow of Bethulia who tricked the wicked Holofernes, commander of the Assyrian army threatening the Israelites under King Menasses, into drinking too much wine, whereupon she beheaded him with a sword, causing the Assyrians to flee in panic before the Israelite forces. The people blessed Judith, saying: "Thou are the glory of Jerusalem, thou art the joy of Israel, thou art the honor of our people" (Judith 15:10).
Esther was a young Jewess from the tribe of Benjamin who was exiled with her people to Susan under the reign of King Assuerus, whose queen she became after the banishing of the former Queen, Vasthi. Queen Esther entered unbidden into the presence of the king, risking her life to save her people from destruction at the hands of the wicked Aman, who had obtained a decree from the king on the 13th of the month Nisan, that the Jews in exile in Persia were to be executed on the 13th of the month, Adar (Esther, Ch. 5). The king, believing Esther's words, executed Aman, and Esther's people were spared.
Mary is all of these women together, because she fulfills the prophecy of Genesis in all of these ways. She is the New Eve, because she was victorious over the devil from the first moment of her Immaculate Conception. She is Sara, because she believed the words of the Angel Gabriel that she was to become the Mother of the Savior. She is Debora, because she accompanies the Church and leads it courageously in the battle with the Dragon. She is Jahel, because she crushes the head of the serpent. She is Anna because she gives up her Divine Son as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. She is Judith, because she is the glory of Jerusalem, the joy of Israel, and the honor of our people. She is Esther because she intercedes for the lives of her people before the throne of the King of Heaven.
The Blessed Mother seems to have deliberately capitalized on her affinity with Queen Esther when she appeared at Fatima to the three shepherd children in 1917. To highlight her intercessory role in the light of the story of Esther, Mary chose to appear on the 13th of the month from May to October. Since the name Esther means "Star" Mary was seen by the children at Fatima wearing a star on the hem of her garment. Mary is the only human person allowed to enter, body and soul, into the presence of the King of Heaven, where she intercedes for us with her Son, Jesus Christ, Who sits at the right hand of the Father. Mary is our Morning Star, our Queen Esther, pleading our cause with God, that we might be delivered from destruction at the hands of the devil.
But there are other women. There are the Helena Blavatskys and the Margaret Sangers of this world. Blavatsky, steeped in Satanism, was the foundress of the Theosophical Society which promoted the New Age Movement. Sanger, who favored abortion, contraception, euthanasia, population control, eugenics, and forced sterilization, was the foundress of Planned Parenthood. Planned indeed! She planned to phase out certain races which she deemed inferior, and proposed concentration camps for all "dysgenic stock", meaning those with "poor genes". Under the tutelage of women such as these, today's daughters of Eve have fallen for the tempting fruit of freedom without responsibility, and pleasure without sacrifice.
How do we introduce a lost generation of women to the heroic women of the Bible, especially the Blessed Virgin Mary? It seems beyond us now. We are in need of an enlightenment of conscience for the world, a miracle of grace. For this we must pray and make sacrifices. We must obey "the Woman" saying to us, "Do whatever He tells you." We do not doubt that Mary is preparing for us another great miracle, a decisive defeat of Satan. Her Immaculate Heart will finally triumph, and a new age of grace and peace will be granted to the world.
For the Proper of Today's Holy Mass - Missa "Omnis terra", see Second Sunday After Epiphany
January 18, 2004
vol 15, no. 18
"Qui legit, intelligat"
Father Louis Campbell's Sunday Sermons