Von Balthasar on Prayer (3)

A third quote from this deeply powerful book on God's word to us:

"Mary is the 'image of the Church' for two reasons: she is the location of the Word's indwelling, both bodily and in terms of being, in the most intimate union of mother and child sharing one flesh; but this indwelling arises from the spiritual servanthood of her whole person, body and soul, which knows no autonomy but only the law of conformity with the word of God. It is because she is a virgin, that is, pure, exclusively a hearer of the word, that she becomes a mother, the place of the Word's embodiment. Her 'breasts' are blessed only because she has heard the word of God and kept it (Lk 11:27 f), because she 'kept all these things, pondering them in her heart' (Lk 2:19, 51). All contemplation must take its directions from Mary if it is to keep the twofold danger at bay: on the one hand that of seeing the word as something merely external, rather than the deepest mystery within it, that in which we live, move and have our being; and on the other hand the danger of holding the word to be something so interior that we confuse it with our own nature, with a natural wisdom given to us once and for all to be used at will" (pp. 27-28).

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