CCC 59 In order to gather together scattered humanity God calls Abram from his country, his kindred and his father’s house,1 and makes him Abraham, that is, “the father of a multitude of nations”. “In you all the nations of the earth shall be blessed.”2
CCC 145 The Letter to the Hebrews, in its great eulogy of the faith of Israel’s ancestors, lays special emphasis on Abraham’s faith: “By faith, Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place which he was to receive as an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was to go.”3 By faith, he lived as a stranger and pilgrim in the promised land.4 By faith, Sarah was given to conceive the son of the promise. And by faith Abraham offered his only son in sacrifice.5
CCC 343 Man is the summit of the Creator’s work, as the inspired account expresses by clearly distinguishing the creation of man from that of the other creatures.6
CCC 706 Against all human hope, God promises descendants to Abraham, as the fruit of faith and of the power of the Holy Spirit.7 In Abraham’s progeny all the nations of the earth will be blessed. This progeny will be Christ himself,8 in whom the outpouring of the Holy Spirit will “gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.”9 God commits himself by his own solemn oath to giving his beloved Son and “the promised Holy Spirit. .. [who is] the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it.”10
CCC 762 The remote preparation for this gathering together of the People of God begins when he calls Abraham and promises that he will become the father of a great people.11 Its immediate preparation begins with Israel’s election as the People of God. By this election, Israel is to be the sign of the future gathering of All nations.12 But the prophets accuse Israel of breaking the covenant and behaving like a prostitute. They announce a new and eternal covenant. “Christ instituted this New Covenant.”13
CCC 1669 Sacramentals derive from the baptismal priesthood: every baptized person is called to be a “blessing,” and to bless.14 Hence lay people may preside at certain blessings; the more a blessing concerns ecclesial and sacramental life, the more is its administration reserved to the ordained ministry (bishops, priests, or deacons).15
CCC 2570 When God calls him, Abraham goes forth “as the Lord had told him”;16 Abraham’s heart is entirely submissive to the Word and so he obeys. Such attentiveness of the heart, whose decisions are made according to God’s will, is essential to prayer, while the words used count only in relation to it. Abraham’s prayer is expressed first by deeds: a man of silence, he constructs an altar to the Lord at each stage of his journey. Only later does Abraham’s first prayer in words appear: a veiled complaint reminding God of his promises which seem unfulfilled.17 Thus one aspect of the drama of prayer appears from the beginning: the test of faith in the fidelity of God.
CCC 2676 This twofold movement of prayer to Mary has found a privileged expression in the Ave Maria:
Hail Mary [or Rejoice, Mary]: the greeting of the angel Gabriel opens this prayer. It is God himself who, through his angel as intermediary, greets Mary. Our prayer dares to take up this greeting to Mary with the regard God had for the lowliness of his humble servant and to exult in the joy he finds in her.18
Full of grace, the Lord is with thee: These two phrases of the angel’s greeting shed light on one another. Mary is full of grace because the Lord is with her. The grace with which she is filled is the presence of him who is the source of all grace. “Rejoice. .. O Daughter of Jerusalem. .. the Lord your God is in your midst.”19 Mary, in whom the Lord himself has just made his dwelling, is the daughter of Zion in person, the ark of the covenant, the place where the glory of the Lord dwells. She is “the dwelling of God. .. with men.”20 Full of grace, Mary is wholly given over to him who has come to dwell in her and whom she is about to give to the world.
Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. After the angel’s greeting, we make Elizabeth’s greeting our own. “Filled with the Holy Spirit,” Elizabeth is the first in the long succession of generations who have called Mary “blessed.”21 “Blessed is she who believed. .. ”22 Mary is “blessed among women” because she believed in the fulfillment of the Lord’s word. Abraham. because of his faith, became a blessing for all the nations of the earth.23 Mary, because of her faith, became the mother of believers, through whom all nations of the earth receive him who is God’s own blessing: Jesus, the “fruit of thy womb.”
1 Gen 12:1.
2 Gen 17:5; 12:3 (LXX); cf. Gal 3:8.
3 Heb 11:8; cf. Gen 12:1-4.
4 Cf. Gen 23:4.
5 Cf. Heb 11:17.
6 Cf. Gen 1-26.
7 Cf. Gen 18:1-15; Lk 1:26-38. 54-55; Jn 1:12-13; Rom 4:16-21.
8 Cf. Gen 12:3; Gal 3:16.
9 Cf. In 11:52.
10 Eph 1:13-14; cf. Gen 22:17-19; Lk 1:73; Jn 3:16; Rom 8:32; Gal 3:14.
11 Cf. Gen 12:2; 15:5-6.
12 Cf. Ex 19:5-6; Deut 7:6; Isa 2:2-5; Mic 4:1-4.
13 LG 9; cf. Hos 1; Isa 1:2-4; Jer 2; 31:31-34; Isa 55:3.
14 Cf. Gen 12:2; Lk 6:28; Rom 12:14; 1 Pet 3:9.
15 Cf. SC 79; CIC, can. 1168; De Ben 16, 18.
16 Gen 12:4.
17 Cf. Gen 15:2 f.
18 Cf. Lk 1:48; Zeph 3:17b.
19 Zeph 3:14,17a.
20 Rev 21:3.
21 Lk 1:41, 48.
22 Lk 1:45.
23 Cf. Gen 12:3.