Mary, The Woman the World Loves | Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen | From The World's First Love: Mary, Mother of God
Love Begins with a Dream
Every person carries within his heart a blueprint of the one he loves. What seems to be "love at first sight" is actually the fulfillment of desire, the realization of a dream. Plato, sensing this, said that all knowledge is a recollection from a previous existence. This is not true as he states it, but it is true if one understands it to mean that we already have an ideal in us, one that is made by our thinking, our habits, our experiences, and our desires. Otherwise, how would we know immediately, on seeing persons or things, that we loved them? Before meeting certain people we already have a pattern and mold of what we like and what we do not like; certain persons fit into that pattern, others do not.
When we hear music for the first time, we either like or dislike it. We judge it by the music we already have heard in our own hearts. Jittery minds, which cannot long repose in one object of thought or in continuity of an ideal, love music that is distracting, excited, and jittery. Calm minds like calm music: the heart has its own secret melody, and one day, when the score is played, the heart answers: "This is it." So it is with love. A tiny architect works inside the human heart drawing sketches of the ideal love from the people it sees, from the books it reads, from its hopes and daydreams, in the fond hope that the eye may one day see the ideal and the hand touch it. Life becomes satisfying the moment the dream is seen walking, and the person appears as the incarnation of all that one loved. The liking is instantaneous—because, actually, it was there waiting for a long time. Some go through life without ever meeting what they call their ideal. This could be very disappointing, if the ideal never really existed. But the absolute ideal of every heart does exist, and it is God. All human love is an initiation into the Eternal. Some find the Ideal in substance without passing through the shadow.
God, too, has within Himself blueprints of everything in the universe. As the architect has in his mind a plan of the house before the house is built, so God has in His Mind an archetypal idea of every flower, bird, tree, springtime, and melody. There never was a brush touched to canvas or a chisel to marble without some great pre-existing idea. So, too, every atom and every rose is a realization and concretion of an idea existing in the Mind of God from all eternity. All creatures below man correspond to the pattern God has in His Mind. A tree is truly a tree because it corresponds to God's idea of a tree. A rose is a rose because it is God's idea of a rose wrapped up in chemicals and tints and life. But it is not so with persons. God has to have two pictures of us: one is what we are, and the other is what we ought to be. He has the model, and He has the reality: the blueprint and the edifice, the score of the music and the way we play it. God has to have these two pictures because in each and every one of us there is some disproportion and want of conformity between the original plan and the way we have worked it out. The image is blurred; the print is faded. For one thing, our personality is not complete in time; we need a renewed body. Then, too, our sins diminish our personality; our evil acts daub the canvas the Master Hand designed. Like unhatched eggs, some of us refuse to be warmed by the Divine Love, which is so necessary for incubation to a higher level. We are in constant need of repairs; our free acts do not coincide with the law of our being; we fall short of all God wants us to be. St. Paul tells us that we were predestined, before the foundations of the world were laid, to become the sons of God. But some of us will not fulfill that hope.
There is, actually, only one person in all humanity of whom God has one picture and in whom there is a perfect conformity between what He wanted her to be and what she is, and that is His Own Mother. Most of us are a minus sign, in the sense that we do not fulfill the high hopes the Heavenly Father has for us. But Mary is the equal sign. The Ideal that God had of her, that she is, and in the flesh. The model and the copy are perfect; she is all that was foreseen, planned, and dreamed. The melody of her life is played just as it was written. Mary was thought, conceived, and planned as the equal sign between ideal and history, thought and reality, hope and realization.
That is why, through the centuries, Christian liturgy has applied to her the words of the Book of Proverbs. Because she is what God wanted us all to be, she speaks of herself as the Eternal blueprint in the Mind of God, the one whom God loved before she was a creature. She is even pictured as being with Him not only at creation but also before creation. She existed in the Divine Mind as an Eternal Thought before there were any mothers. She is the Mother of mothers—she is the world's first love.