Round’ yon virgin, mother and child
Often times discussion concerning roles in the church delove around the concept of power, which is the surest indication that a wrong turn has been taken. One very wrong turn concerning power was taken was by Eve, who the church fathers heaped plenty of blame for hearing the serpant’s voice and following the promise that comes from special knowledge. Eve, or Eva as her name is spelled in the traditional Vulgate version of the Bible, saw power “something to be grasped at,” like an apple hanging on a tree. Mary, on the other hand, heard the voice of God and responded by complying with the will of God. The same church fathers saw in this reversal Mary as the new Eve, noting that the first word from the angel was Ave, the reverse of Eva. Whereas Eva’s disobedience brought death, Mary or “Ave’s” obedience brought life. The setting of the holy family around the manger reminds us that we have choices. Do we listen to God’s will as Joseph did in trusting in God and as Mary did as well? Or do we follow the voices whispered to us by sources that try to degrade our humanity by tempting us with, as Ignatius identified, honors, riches, and pride.