“The Face That Launched A Thousand Ships”
In Greek mythology, Helen of Troy, also known as Helen of Sparta, was said to have been the most beautiful woman in the world. She was married to King Menelaus of Sparta but was abducted by Prince Paris of Troy after the goddess Aphrodite promised her to him in the Judgement of Paris. This resulted in the Trojan War when the Achaeans set out to reclaim her. She was believed to have been the daughter of Zeus and Leda, and was the sister of Clytemnestra, Castor, Polydeuces, Philippe, Phoebe and Timandra. – (Wikipedia)
Although there are contradictions regarding Helen’s character, whether victim or perpetrator, it cannot be argued that her choice, regretted or not, influenced the actions of Paris that would bring down Troy.
If not for Eve of Genesis there would not have been a Helen. There is a saying oft used to give credit where due, and most likely it will, in someway, offend in today’s political climate: “Behind every great man is a great woman.” Although one might assume here that a woman has secondary status by such a phrase, it can be argued not so. For both man and woman in their unique natures each bring something to the table of success that the other cannot. In the case of Eve and Helen the influence which they possess over men can be considered an enticement. We know how each of these stories played out. In one, Paradise was lost and the other a city fell. Each come to bring about hardship and death as an inheritance from Eve’s very first poor choice in the use of free will.
The Wedding at Cana
On the third day there was a marriage at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; Jesus also was invited to the marriage, with his disciples. When the wine failed, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” …. This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory; and his disciples believed in him. – John 2: 1-11
As we can see from the wedding at Cana story, Mary, too, like Eve and Helen, possessed the ability to entice. Not as a wife or lover, but, rather, as a mother. She impels our Lord, Her Divine Son, to perform the first miracle that would set Him on His mission that was to eventually lead to the cross. Her enticement, however, unlike Eve or Helen, ended not in setting upon mankind the wages of sin nor the destruction of the city of Troy, but, instead, for the redemption and salvation of souls from all eternity.
Woman has profound influence over man. She can either entice to vice or virtue. Eve entices Adam to disobey God, and Mary entices Jesus to obey Him. One banished man from Heaven and the other reinstated him. One selfish act, the other a selfless act. Jesus fulfilled His mother’s request. And her order to the servants to do what He says, without further discourse, acknowledges that she knew Jesus would do so. For He as God, Himself, could only follow His own Commandment, to “Honor Thy Father and Mother.” And what loving son does not obey his mother. Note, no condition of parental worthiness is stipulated. Mary in accepting God’s offer through the Immaculate Conception had given her will to God. And, in so doing, helped to initiate God’s will on earth by her role in the first of many miracles which would affirm that God had come to fulfill His promise to Israel of a Messiah in Christ Jesus. Mary as Mother of God is also Mother of redemption and salvation.
God came into the world not by man but by woman. He made man to be man and woman to be woman. There is no greater responsibility or honor bestowed upon humanity than to provide the means by which God would enter into His own creation. That responsibility and honor, through Mary, is shared alone by woman. Mary in her unique role of salvation and by her unblemished disposition should be the most emulated model of womanhood.