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Why Mary is frequently called the New Eve

ANNUNCIATION

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Philip Kosloski - published on 12/14/23

The story of Mary's life and her decisions offers a contrast to Eve and her disobedience to God at the beginning of time.

Among the many titles of Mary is a reference to her as the “New Eve.” Her life of obedience to God is often compared to the disobedience of Eve. In many ways Mary became what Eve should have been.

Jesus is also called the “New Adam,” referring to his obedience to the Father, compared to Adam’s disobedience to God in the beginning.

St. Irenaeus summarizes the logic of this profound truth:

The Lord, coming into his own creation in visible form, was sustained by his own creation which he himself sustains in being. His obedience on the tree of the cross reversed the disobedience at the tree in Eden; the good news of the truth announced by an angel to Mary, a virgin subject to a husband, undid the evil lie that seduced Eve, a virgin espoused to a husband.

As Eve was seduced by the word of an angel and so fled from God after disobeying his word, Mary in her turn was given the good news by the word of an angel, and bore God in obedience to his word. As Eve was seduced into disobedience to God, so Mary was persuaded into obedience to God; thus the Virgin Mary became the advocate of the virgin Eve.

The ancient hymn Ave Maris Stella poetically puts this truth in a similar way.

Hail bright star of ocean,
God’s own Mother blest,
Ever sinless Virgin,
Gate of heavenly rest
Taking that sweet Ave
Which from Gabriel came,
Peace confirm within us,
Changing Eva’s name.

Many other saints have referred to Mary as the New Eve, seeing in her choice to follow God an ushering in of a new creation, the Church, and an abundance of spiritual children to follow.

Mary, the New Eve, pray for us!

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Virgin Mary
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