.- Pope Benedict XVI said today that the virginity of Mary guarantees Jesus’ divinity because it proves the Incarnation is solely the work of God.
“The human being that begins to live in her womb takes the flesh from Mary, but his existence is derived entirely from God,” the Pope said Dec. 18 in his final Sunday Angelus address before Christmas.
“The fact that Mary conceived while remaining a virgin is, therefore, essential to the understanding of Jesus and our faith, because it witnesses that it was God’s initiative and above all it reveals who is conceived.”
So while Jesus is “fully human” and “made of earth,” he “comes from above, from heaven” and is truly “the Son of God.”
Thus, said the Pope, “the virginity of Mary and the divinity of Jesus reciprocally guarantee one another.”
Pope Benedict made his remarks to several thousand visitors gathered in St. Peter’s Square. He drew upon today’s Gospel reading, in which the Angel Gabriel told Mary “behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.”
The Pope noted that this fulfilled the “age-old promise” of Isaiah, who prophesied seven to eight centuries before that “a virgin shall conceive and bear a son and call him Immanuel.”
Pope Benedict then explained the importance of the fact that Mary was “very upset” at the Angel Gabriel’s news and asked “how can this be, since I have no relations with a man?”
“In her simplicity, Mary is wise,” said the Pope, “she does not doubt the power of God, but wants to better understand his will, to fully comply with this will.”
While Mary is “infinitely surpassed” by the mystery of the Incarnation, the Pope reflected, she also “perfectly occupies the place that, at the very heart of it, she was assigned.”
Her “heart and mind are fully humble,” and because of this “singular humility, God expects the ‘yes’ of this young girl to achieve His purpose” while still fully respecting “her dignity and freedom,” he said.
“Mary’s ‘yes’ means both motherhood and virginity,” Pope Benedict observed.
He finished his reflection on Mary's virginity and Jesus' conception by highlighting the spiritual significance of her faith. Mary's willingness to trust deeply in God and his plan, despite being a virgin, allowed her to "welcome Jesus and his divine life within."
"This is the mystery of Christmas."