The World's First Love by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen. Part 44.

But in the West, in recent years, there has been less fear than dread. This inner dread is due, in part, to modern man's loss of faith, but above all to his hidden sense of guilt. Although he denies sin, he cannot escape the effects of sin, which appear on the outside as world wars, and on the inside as boredom. Western man got rid of God in order to make himself God; and then he became bored with his own divinity. The East cannot yet understand the Incarnate Love of Jesus Christ because of its overemphasis on evil spirits. The West is not prepared to accept it, because of its dread of penance, the ethical condition of its return. Those who have never known Christ, fear but those who have known Him and lost Him, dread.

Since men are unprepared for a revelation of the heavenly image of Love which is Christ Jesus Our Lord, God, in His Mercy, has prepared on earth an image of love which is not Divine, but can lead to the Divine. Such is the role of His Mother. She can lift the fear, because her foot crushed the serpent of evil; she can do away with dread, because she stood at the foot of the Cross when human guilt was washed away and we were reborn in Christ.

As Christ is the Mediator between God and man, so she is the Mediatrix between Christ and us. She is the earthly principle of love that leads to the Heavenly Principle of Love. The relation between her and God is something like the relation between rain and the earth. Rain falls from heaven, but the earth produces. Divinity comes from Heaven; the human nature of the Son of God comes from her. We speak of "mother earth" since it gives life through heaven's gift of the sun; then why not also recognize the Madonna of the World, since she gives us the Eternal Life of God?

Those who lack the faith are to be recommended particularly to Mary, as a means to finding Christ, the Son of God. Mary, the Madonna of the World, exists where Christ is not yet, and where the Mystical Body is not yet visible. For the Eastern people who suffer from fear of the evil spirits, and for the Western man who lives in dread, the answer must ever be cherchez la femme. Look to the woman who will lead you to God. The whole world may have to pass through the experience of the Bantu woman. She did not know love of God until it was translated into Mother Love.

Jesus may not yet be given an inn, in these lands, but Mary is among their people, preparing hearts for grace. She is grace, where there is no grace; she is the Advent, where there is no Christmas. In all lands where there is an ideal woman, or where virgins are venerated, or where one lady is set above all ladies, the ground is fertile for accepting the Woman as the prelude to embracing Christ. Where there is the presence of Jesus, there is the presence of His Mother; but where there is the absence of Jesus, either through the ignorance or wickedness of men, there is still the presence of Mary. As she filled up the gap between the Ascension and Pentecost, so she is filling up the gap between the ethical systems of the East and their incorporation into the Mystical Body of her Divine Son. She is the fertile soil from which, in God's appointed time, the faith will flourish and bloom in the East. Although there are few tabernacle lamps in India, Japan, and Africa, compared to the total population, nevertheless I see, written over the gateways to all these nations, the words of the Gospel at the beginning of the public life of the Saviour: "And Mary, the Mother of Jesus, was there."