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Foreshadowings of Mary

December 5, 2014 by  
Filed under Advent, Dan Burke, Mary, Meditations: Seasonal, The Prince of Peace


Whence is this to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
Luke 1:43

1. Though so little is said of Our Lady in the Gospels, there is abundant evidence both there and elsewhere to show that she too was part of the Expectation of the Jews along with her Son; Piero_di_Cosimo_001PrayerAngeland reason confirms that the two could scarcely have been separated. When the Angel appeared to her, to announce the Incarnation, he speaks as to one who was accustomed to meditate on ancient prophecies; and six months later she breaks out in words that could only have come from one who recognized in herself the fulfillment of many things foretold. Elizabeth's words, again, disclose one who appreciated to the full the meaning of Mary's motherhood; and Simon later is even more explicit. Lastly, the tradition of the second Eve was one which the Jews held dear.

2. In the same way, then, as the great men of the Old Testament prefigure the Son, so did the great women prefigure the Mother; and it is to be noticed that the history of the Jews is studded with the names of great women far more than is the history of any other ancient people. Rebecca secured the inheritance for her son Jacob. The mother of Moses saved him from the waters to be the saviour of his people. Hannah breaks into her song of praise at the knowledge that she is to be a mother, which song is the background for the greater song of Mary herself. Deborah and Jael, each in their turn, are the saviours of their people; later come the names of Judith and Esther, each reminding the Jews of that “first prophecy: I will set enmities between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall crush thy head”; and telling them that in the future the Mother of Him that was to come would have her share in the work of Redemption.

3. Again, there were the countless other types, of which the Church has made so much use in her prayers and liturgy. The Little Office of her Immaculate Conception is full of them. She is the Gate of Heaven, the ladder of Jacob, by which God came among men. She is the Burning BourdonSebastienBurningbushBush, seen by Moses, the “holy ground” in which God dwelt; as the Church sings on the feast of the Circumcision: “Rubum quern viderat Moyses incombustum, conservatam agnovimus tuam laudabilem virginitatem.” (“In the bush which Moses saw burning but never burnt we recognize thy glorious virginity preserved.”) She is the Ark of the Covenant, in which the Sacred Bread from heaven was preserved. She is the Tower of David, in which the King took up His abode. She is the Golden Temple, hallowed by the Presence of Jehovah. If we would lengthen out the list, we have but to look at the writings of many of the Fathers, of those especially on whom, as it were, the glorious sunrise of Our Lady's honor shone after the first centuries of the dawning.

Summary Meditation Points:

1. The Church sanctions, and the Gospels more than justify, the searching for anticipations of Our Lady, as of her Son, in the persons and events of the Old Testament.

2. Thus in the line of great women she is foreshadowed; beginning with the thought that she is to be a second Eve, reversing the work done by the first.

3. In many types, too, she is prefigured, making it easy for saints and fathers of the Church to prolong her praises in their prayers and writings; a practice which was common among them.


Archbishop Alban Goodier SJ (Mirror View 1)Editor’s Note: This meditation is from Archbishop Alban Goodier’s “The Prince of Peace” (1913).

Art: Detail from “The Adoration of the Child” by Piero di Cosimo, ca 1500; Burning Bush, Sébastien Bourdon, 17th century; both PD-US, Wikimedia Commons. Mirror of Archbishop Alban Goodier, S.J.,, all rights reserved, used with permission.

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About Dan Burke

Dan is the President of the Avila Foundation, the parent organization of, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, Divine Intimacy Radio and Divine Intimacy Radio - Resources Edition, Into the Deep Parish Programs, the Apostoli Viae (Apostles of the Way) Community, and the FireLight Student Leadership Formation Program, author of the award-winning book, Navigating the Interior Life - Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God, Finding God Through Meditation-St. Peter of Alcantara, 30 Days with Teresa of Avila, Into the Deep, Living the Mystery of Merciful Love: 30 Days with Thérèse of Lisieux, and his newest book The Contemplative Rosary with St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Avila. Beyond his "contagious" love for Jesus and His Church, he is a grateful husband and father of four, the Executive Director of and writer for EWTN's National Catholic Register, a regular co-host on Register Radio, a writer and speaker who provides online spiritual formation and travels to share his conversion story and the great riches that the Church provides us through authentic Catholic spirituality. Dan has been featured on EWTN's Journey Home program and numerous radio programs.

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  • Kyle King

    “Lastly, the tradition of the second Eve was one which the Jews held
    dear.” What ancient, Jewish sources back up this statement and how do they strengthen our view of Mary?

    • Benard Chedid

      Can anyone answer this great question?

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