He said that the Scriptures were referring to Mary in the 44th chapter of the Book of Ezekiel when the prophet said God told him “the gate shall be closed, it shall not be opened, and no man shall pass through it, since the Lord God of Israel has entered through it — and it shall be closed for the Prince, the Prince himself shall sit in it.”
This prophecy is fulfilled not only in Mary becoming the mother of Jesus but also “in that she had a place in the economy of redemption,” Newman wrote.
He explained that Eve participated in the fall of man by tempting Adam, as written in the Book of Genesis.
“It was fitting then in God’s mercy that, as the woman began the destruction of the world, so woman should also begin its recovery, and that as Eve opened the way for the fatal deed of the first Adam, so Mary should open the way for the great achievement of the second Adam,” referring to Christ, Newman wrote.
Mary took part in the restoration of the world when the angel Gabriel announced to her that she would be the mother of God, he wrote.
Newman added that “it was God’s will that she should undertake willingly and with full understanding to be the mother of Our Lord, and not to be a mere passive instrument whose maternity would have no merit and no reward.”
“The higher our gifts,” he said, “the heavier our duties,” adding that “it was no light lot to one so intimately near to the Redeemer of men, as she experienced afterwards when she suffered with him.”
On the Assumption of Mary
Because Mary is the mother of God, “other wonderful truths” follow — one of which is that “she was exempt from the ordinary lot of mortals,” Newman wrote in “Meditations and Devotions.”
Newman believed that Mary died on earth and her soul was separated from her body in a tomb but affirmed that “it did not remain there.”
“And the most obvious reason for so concluding is this — that other servants of God have been raised from the grave by the power of God, and it is not to be supposed that Our Lord would have granted any such privilege to anyone else without also granting it to his own mother,” he wrote.
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Citing the Gospel of Matthew, Newman points to the section after Jesus’ crucifixion where the saint writes that “tombs were opened, and the bodies of many saints who had fallen asleep were raised. And coming forth from their tombs after his resurrection, they entered the holy city and appeared to many.”
“Can we suppose that Abraham, or David, or Isaias, or Ezechias, should have been thus favored, and not God’s own Mother?” Newman asked. “Had she not a claim on the love of her Son to have what any others had?”
“And is it conceivable that the law of the grave should admit of relaxation in their case, and not in hers?”
“Therefore,” he said, “we confidently say that Our Lord, having preserved her from sin and the consequences of sin by his passion, lost no time in pouring out the full merits of that Passion upon her body as well as her soul.”
Why is May the month of Mary?
May is chosen as the month of Mary, Newman writes in “Meditations and Devotions,” because of the elements of spring.