And Mary said to the angel, How shall this be, since I have no husband? – Luke 1:34
We fly to your patronage, O holy Mother of God; Despise not our prayers in our necessities, But ever deliver us from all dangers, O glorious and blessed Virgin.
Long before the Angel Gabriel brought Mary the message that God had chosen her to be the mother of his Son, she had resolved to give herself entirely and exclusively – in the gift of perpetual virginity. Mary knew that God had entered into a Covenant – a family bond – with the People of Israel on Mount Sinai. Although the Lord had remained faithful to the Covenant promises, Israel had not. By repeatedly breaking the Commandments of God, Israel had shown herself to be an adulterous spouse. Mary, painfully aware of the history of her people as told by the Prophets, yearned to make reparation for the sins of her people by loving God as his faithful bride. Here is Pope John Paul II’s description of Mary’s desire to remain a virgin throughout her life: Mary herself wanted to be the personal image of that absolutely faithful bride, totally devoted to the divine Bridegroom, and therefore she became the beginning of the new Israel in her spousal heart.... She confirms and strengthens a consecration already in effect, which becomes the abiding condition of her life. She in fact replies to the Angel of the Annunciation: “How will this come about, since I am a virgin?” (Lk. 1:34); as if to say: I am a virgin devoted to God, and I do not intend to leave my spouse, because I do not think that God wills it – He who is so jealous of Israel, so severe with anyone who betrays him, so persistent in his merciful call to reconciliation! Mary is well aware of her people’s infidelity, and she wants personally to be a bride who is faithful to her most beloved divine Spouse. God sent the Angel Gabriel to the town of Nazareth to tell Mary that he had accepted her desire to belong exclusively to him and, in fact, was the source of that desire. Mary’s longing for a life of virginity was, in fact, a response to God’s faithful love. The Angel tells Mary that she would conceive God’s son as a virgin through the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit. She is to be simultaneously a virgin, bride, and mother. Her freely chosen virginity allowed Mary to belong totally to Christ as his mother and totally to each of us as our loving mother. The Blessed Virgin Mary witnesses that the beautiful value of virginity is always for the sake of spousal love and motherhood!
Almighty and Ever-Living God, Mary gave herself to you unreservedly through the gift of her virginity. As she loved Jesus with an undivided heart, she continues to love and serve all of her children on earth. Through her example, instill in all the members of your Church a deeper appreciation of the value of virginity. Help all to understand that virginity is the perfect gift that spouses give to each other on their wedding day. Inspire many young men and women to embrace a life of consecrated celibacy or virginity in the priesthood and consecrated life. Teach us all the meaning of your Son’s words: Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God (Mt. 5:8). We ask this through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.