Mary Consoles Eve


This painting, entitled “Mary Consoles Eve,” by Sr. Grace Remington, OCSO, captures in a very striking way the relationship between these two women. As I prayed with it, three things came to mind: a brief story, the words of St. Irenaeus of Lyons and a poem by St. Hildegard of Bingen.

The story:

Back in the late 1980’s I heard an astonishing story preached by a priest in a Russian Orthodox parish. He said there was a woman living in the Soviet Union in the 1950’s who was pregnant with her second child. She was a Believer in an age of Soviet atheism. Late in the pregnancy her doctor warned her that her delivery could be life-threatening and recommended abortion, though he said even the abortion could be life-threatening. She refused the abortion, and during her labor and delivery suffered severe hemorrhaging and died. While delivering the baby, she held a Byzantine cross in her hand and clasped it so tightly that her hand bled. When she died, the blood-stained cross fell to the floor and her husband picked it up. After a pause, the priest said, “That was my mother, and I was that child.” Gasp. Then he took out a cross, and said: “This is her cross. And when I was ordained a priest my father gave this cross to me and said, ‘Your mother compressed all of her love and life-blood into that cross. So whenever you feel tired or lost, think of her.'”

St. Irenaeus:

The seduction of a fallen angel drew Eve, a virgin espoused to a man, while the glad tidings of the holy angel drew Mary, a Virgin already espoused, to begin the plan which would dissolve the bonds of that first snare. For as the former was lead astray by the word of an angel, so that she fled from God when she had disobeyed his word, so did the latter, by an angelic communication, receive the glad tidings that she should bear God, and obeyed his word. If the former disobeyed God, the latter obeyed, so that the Virgin Mary might become the advocate of the virgin Eve. Thus, as the human race fell into bondage to death by means of a virgin, so it is rescued by a virgin; virginal disobedience is balanced in the opposite scale by virginal obedience.

St. Hildegard:

Pierced by the light of God
Mary Virgin,
drenched in the speech of God,
your body bloomed,
swelling with the breath of God.

For the Spirit purged you
of the poison Eve took.
She soiled all freshness when she caught
that infection
from the devil’s suggestion.

But in wonder within you
you hid an untainted
child of God’s mind
and God’s Son blossomed in your body.

The Holy One was his midwife:
his birth broke the laws
of flesh that Eve made. He was coupled
to wholeness
in the seedbed of holiness.

8 comments on “Mary Consoles Eve

  1. Nos says:

    Oh GOD what .might have been * * * * * * *
    and what was. ^
    T his day has a double meaning for me as it is not only the date of a law enacted ,the effect of which GOD only knows,but it is the day my Greek mother and Irish father celebrated my birth …as is the tradition in my family all my children and grandchildren will gather to celebrate as we do with each birthday, it’s great now I have an excuse to eat so much cake and ice cream…but I also am reminded of this sad day in our history when R vs W was passed into ¿¿¿ law¿¿¿ .had my my mom lost me on this day many years ago this table would be empty these beautiful faces on all these branding even a thought…we have stolen from GOD all those faces from the table so willing to hug and love him as mine will do to me today … oh merciful GOD we pray not only for those innocents taken but for those that will be..We pray your holy spirit sends these confused women with child a message of hope and a love for that life in their womb that only you can nurture AMEN + + + bring on the cake P.B.W.Y.A.A.

  2. Nos says:

    Just got breakfast made by my eldest son oh what a glorious day it consisted of eggs ,cake, hashbrowns,cake ham ,cake toast, cake, coffee ,
    cake and last but most certainly not least. CAKE!!!!!!!

    • Jennifer says:

      NOS! Happy belated birthday, dear brother! What a great testimony to life and the triumph of love in every birthday celebration, every bowl of ice cream and slab of cake is an exclamation of hope and a promise of a much better alternative to abortion. Thank you, Father, for the life of our wonderful brother, number one saint (thanks for that one tmm) here. God bless him!

      (and so much cake!… how wonderful!)

  3. Thank you for these words from you and Doctors of the Church on an image that has been an icon for the nascent religious order the Lord has called forth from my heart, prayer, and tears: Daughters of Mary, the New Eve. Coming through much prayer and spiritual direction with a gifted OSB priest, study of TOB thru the TOBInstitute, and the discernment and enthusiastic support of my Bishop, here in Des Moines/Urbandale, IA. Please pray that this new life in the heart of the Church will blossom to live out the truth written into this image, which Sr. Grace has given permission to me to use. Right now, He is forming me and calling many young women and men to pray and study at the DoMNE Prayer and Discernment House in Urbandale. This post was sent to me by my friend and Catechesis of the Good Shepherd formator, Mandie, today as Is was in Morning Prayer. I took it as encouragement from Him that He is indeed courting young women to co-found this active/contemplative community (based on St. JPII’s Theology of the Body, Pope Benedict XVI’s God Is Love, and Pope Francis’s Joy of the Gospel) — and that He will make a way for us to find each other. Many blessings to you from a prodigal returned to the Father’s House–once an apprentice to the first Eve, now a daughter of the New Eve!
    Your sister in Christ,

    • Victoria: What a providential encounter we have had here! Thank you for your beautiful witness and words here. May God prosper the work of your hands and bring to completion the good work He has begun in you You will be in my prayers. Thank you for your prayers. I hope to meet you when I return to Iowa. Godspeed, sister in Christ. Dr Tom

    • Jennifer says:

      Victoria, I am delighted for you, and more so for our Church, that God is stirring this up in you! Thanks be to God. Know that I will join you in prayer that He will help you find each other. God bless you, sister!

  4. Maureen B.M. says:

    Happy Belated Birthday Nos!

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