(A Brief Dialogue between Mary Anne Onyinye Ekwe and Martin Nchedo Umeatuegbu)
Maria: Ehen! Nchedo, Nna, there has been something troubling my mind.
Martin: Bikokwa! Be sure to have peace of mind Ooooh. What could that be?
Maria: It is the way people use this word “envelope” often. Nna eh, it is too much.
Martin: Ahaa! Mehnnnn. You never hear anything sef, some people use it as a way of mocking Mary Mother of Jesus.
Maria: Ehena! Wow! How did you know? This is actually what bothers my mind.
Martin: Really!? Tell me about it. Why does it bother you?
Maria: It bothers me because it makes a caricature of Her.
Martin: I see nwannemus, but the only thing I will tell you is the same thing Pope Leo XIII once said about her.
Maria: Hia! Ibiakwa. Lol. Every time gị Na ndị Pope. What did Pope Leo say?
Martin: When he learnt of how less people honour her, he used the word “germ” to make his point.
Maria: Nawaooooo! Mary, a Germ!?
Martin: Hei, nwannemus be calming down Ooooh. When he said such, he meant that devotion to Mary is like a “Germ” inside everyone’s finger, hence, it now depends on how one nurtures or discards the germ. In the same manner, if one allows one’s heart to love Mary, one will grow in love of Jesus, but if not, one’s love will grow cold. The latter is practically what happens when people ascribe such terms like “envelope” to Mary.
Maria: Eweeeeeeeeh. This is good, but the way people use it is so alarming….
Martin: (…cuts in) My dear, it is a matter of choice. I know one thing about an envelope, namely, that as it cannot do without holding a letter, so also is Mary who cannot be honoured without her leading us to Jesus.
Maria: Gbagam! But Nchee wait Ooooh… Are you saying that Mary is an envelope?
Martin: Not at all! But let me shock you small! Hope you are with your shock absorber
Maria: Wetin na!?
Martin: Even if we are to accept that Mary is an envelope, it must be a special type of envelope.
Maria: Hehehe! This one is deep Ooooh. What is special about it?
Martin: Mind you I didn’t say she is an envelope, for such would amount to reductionism. I only said Even if which means that we cannot say such. But to complete what I was saying, I meant that those who call her envelope ironically are ignorant of the fact that they are giving us insight about her, for in calling her envelope, they use the letter inside the envelope to figuratively express that Jesus, whom she bore, makes her special.
Maria: Please say more on this. It is becoming interesting oooo.
Martin: In other words, to say that Mary is an envelope, we reverse it rather to imply that as a letter cannot be submitted without the help of an envelope, so can Jesus not be properly understood without the aid of Mary, who being His Mother, knows His secrets.
Martin: If Jesus, the fruit of Mary’s womb, is blessed and if Mary, His Mother, is blessed among all women (see Lk 1:42), then she is more than an envelope.
Maria: Nwokem, what then are you saying!?
Martin: I am saying that Mary should not be called an envelope!
Maria: What then is she to be called?
Martin: Check what Elizabeth in Luke 1:42 I cited above calls her, and tell me.
Maria: She calls her “Blessed.”
Martin: Good. And then, what does Luke 1:45 speak of her?
Maria: It refers to her as “Blessed.”
Martin: Fine and good. Now tell me what she said she shall be called in Luke 1:48.
Maria: Wow! She said all generations shall call her “Blessed.”
Martin: Intelligent girl you are! So you see that Mary is not an envelope as people call her. Rather than our generation calling her envelope we shall call her “BLESSED.”
Maria: Thank you Nna. We shall talk more on matters like this.
Martin: Welcome nwannemus. Our Lady is our Mother.
Luke 1:42, 45, 48.
Pope Leo XIII, Encyclical Letter, Jucunda Semper Expectatione.
Martin Nchedo Umeatuegbu writes from Onitsha, Anambra State