Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.
Mary is definitively introduced into the mystery of Christ through this event: the Annunciation by the angel. This takes place at Nazareth, within the concrete circumstances of the history of Israel, the people which first received God’s promises. The divine messenger says to the Virgin: “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you” (Lk. 1:28). Mary “was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be” (Lk. 1:29): what could those extraordinary words mean, and in particular the expression “full of grace” (kecharitoméne). […]
The double greeting is due to the fact that in the soul of this “daughter of Sion” there is manifested, in a sense, all the “glory of grace,” that grace which “the Father…has given us in his beloved Son.” For the messenger greets Mary as “full of grace”; he calls her thus as if it were her real name. He does not call her by her proper earthly name: Miryam (= Mary), but by this new name: “full of grace.” […]
In the salvific design of the Most Holy Trinity, the mystery of the Incarnation constitutes the superabundant fulfillment of the promise made by God to man after original sin, after that first sin whose effects oppress the whole earthly history of man (cf. Gen. 3:15). And so, there comes into the world a Son, “the seed of the woman” who will crush the evil of sin in its very origins: “he will crush the head of the serpent.” As we see from the words of the Protogospel, the victory of the woman’s Son will not take place without a hard struggle, a struggle that is to extend through the whole of human history. The “enmity,” foretold at the beginning, is confirmed in the Apocalypse (the book of the final events of the Church and the world), in which there recurs the sign of the “woman,” this time “clothed with the sun” (Rev. 12:1).
Mary, Mother of the Incarnate Word, is placed at the very center of that enmity, that struggle which accompanies the history of humanity on earth and the history of salvation itself. In this central place, she who belongs to the “weak and poor of the Lord” bears in herself, like no other member of the human race, that “glory of grace” which the Father “has bestowed on us in his beloved Son,” and this grace determines the extraordinary greatness and beauty of her whole being. Mary thus remains before God, and also before the whole of humanity, as the unchangeable and inviolable sign of God’s election, spoken of in Paul’s letter: “in Christ…he chose us…before the foundation of the world,…he destined us…to be his sons” (Eph. 1:4,5). This election is more powerful than any experience of evil and sin, than all that “enmity” which marks the history of man. In this history Mary remains a sign of sure hope.
Saint John Paul II
Redemptoris Mater, 8, 11
I.1 Mary in the mystery of Christ: Full of grace
On 23 July, the Octave of the Solemnity of the Patroness of our Order, the Teresian Carmel observes the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Divine Grace. In Europe, this Memorial is transferred to the 7th of July.
All scripture references are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America as accessed from the Bible Gateway website.