6. Virgin Mother of a “Word”

The Koran states: “The angels said: ‘O Maryam! God announces to you the good news of a Word [emanating] from him. His name is Al-Massih, ‘Issa (Jesus), son of Maryam; illustrious in this world and in the life to come, he is in the number of those who are close to God. Right from the cradle, he will speak to men, just as later in adulthood he will be in the number of the just.’ – ‘Lord!’ replied [Maryam], ‘how will I have a child when no mortal has touched me?’ – ‘Thus,’ replied he, ‘Allah creates what He wills. When He decrees a thing, He merely says in its regard: ‘Be!’ and it is (Qun faya qun).’” (Sura “The Family of Imran” 3, 46-47).

Maryam is the model of young virgin girls before marriage...

The virginal conception of ‘Issa (Jesus) is a miracle of the almighty divinity…

The universe is so vast! To ponder it well, this immensity is a formidable cradle… It is not irrational to think what marvels we are, that we are loved by the Creator, and that God the Creator loves us to the point of visiting us by sending us “a Word.”

The Christian tradition had already understood the conception of ‘Issa (Jesus) as an act of God the Creator. Indeed, the Gospel speaks of the Holy Spirit over Mary, this Holy Spirit is like the Holy Spirit that hovered over the primordial waters at the creation of the world (Genesis 1, 2). And the poets have written: “The Spirit spread his wings over the womb of the Virgin, she conceived, gave birth and became Virgin-Mother with much mercy.” (Ode of Solomon 19, 6).

In the Gospel we read: “But Mary said to the angel: ‘How can this be, since I have no husband?’ The angel said to her: ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God’” (Luke 1, 34-35).

The Gospel makes reference to the movement of descent from on high. The Spirit will come upon the Virgin, the power of the Most High. It is God who descends, as he descended of old between the wings of cherubim on the propitiatory (the covering) of the Ark of the Covenant in the time of Moses [Mussa] in the Bible, in Exodus 25, 18-22.

The Word of God is not a book which would have descended from heaven, it is a living person, Al-Massih! God is unique. What does it signify that “’Issa” is “Word”? This signifies that he reveals God in a human language. But we have not put our hand on the Word emanating from God: we cannot make of it a frozen code, a message to utilize, a regulation by which to dominate. ‘Issa, the Word draws us into a life and into a history with God. The Word emanating from God, Maryam shows us, must be welcomed in faith: to be a believer is to welcome this Word as a life that the Creator wants to communicate.