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“The Mother of the Redeemer has a precise place in the plan of salvation, for ‘when the time had fully come, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ (Gal. 4:4-6).”

It has always seemed to me that it is self-evident that the Blessed Virign Mary has a singular and very particular place in the plan of salvation – a place which She occupies at the express will of God, for it is He who has deigned this to be so.

The first clues are in the Book of Genesis, where God speaks of the Woman who is to come later and beneath whose heel the Serpent will eventually be crushed. This same Woman is mentioned again in the Book of Revelation as the ‘Woman clothed with the sun’. These two verses are almost like the hinges of a door. And there, in the middle, throughout the Gospels is that same Woman, whose name is Mary.

Giving Her consent to God at the moment of the Incarnation, She becomes the first light of dawn on the day of salvation; this moment heralds what is to follow.

Thereafter, She is at the side of Her Son – intially in those long hidden years of His childhood, of which we know some few details, although so very much more remains hidden from us; and then in the few years of His public ministry. Indeed, the first of His signs is given at Her specific request, at the wedding feast in Cana.

And in case we have any doubt that this is the same Woman we have already heard about, Jesus even refers to Her on several occasions as ‘Woman’. Now, certainly there are specific reasons why He does so on each of those occasions, but it is impossible not to make the link back to Genesis and to Revelation.

For me personally, She has always been there, for as long back as I can remember. Indeed, I can’t recall a time when She wasn’t there. I hope there never will be a time when She isn’t there.

Yes, St John Paul was absolutely right – She has a precise place; in the plan of salvation, but also in my life.

And for that, I am eternally grateful.

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