Aim: To understand that Mary is the Mother of the Church because she is the Mother of Christ.
Behold your Mother (Jn 19:25-27): Standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son”. Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother”. And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.
Mother of the Church (LG 63): “By reason of the gift and role of divine maternity, by which she is united with her Son, the Redeemer, and with His singular graces and functions, the Blessed Virgin is also intimately united with the Church […] The Son whom she brought forth is He whom God placed as the first-born among many brethren, namely the faithful, in whose birth and education she cooperates with a maternal love”.
Extended motherhood. Mary’s role in the Church is inseparable from her union with Christ and flows directly from it. “This union of the mother with the Son in the work of salvation, is made manifest from the time of Christ’s virginal conception up to his death” (LG 57). It is made manifest above all at the hour of his Passion: “Thus the Blessed Virgin advanced in her pilgrimage of faith, and faithfully persevered in her union with her Son unto the cross. There she stood, in keeping with the divine plan, […] to be given, by the same Christ Jesus dying on the cross, as a mother to his disciple, with these words: ‘Woman, behold your son’” (LG 58).
Mothering the first Church. After her Son’s Ascension, Mary “aided the beginnings of the Church by her prayers” (LG 69). In her association with the apostles and several women, “we also see Mary, by her prayers, imploring the gift of the Spirit, who had already overshadowed her in the Annunciation” (LG 59).
Mother in the order of grace. Mary’s role, in relation to the Church and to all humanity, goes still further. “In a wholly singular way, she cooperated by her obedience, faith, hope, and burning charity in the Saviour’s work of restoring supernatural life to souls. For this reason she is a mother to us in the order of grace” (LG 61).
On-going motherhood. “This motherhood of Mary, in the order of grace, continues uninterruptedly from the consent which she loyally gave at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross, until the eternal fulfilment of all the elect. Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but, by her manifold intercession, continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation. Therefore, the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix” (LG 62).
To confirm Mary as Mother of the Church, a Byzantine Liturgy recites: “In giving birth you kept your virginity; in your Dormition you did not leave the world, O Mother of God, but were joined to the source of Life. You conceived the living God and, by your prayers, will deliver our souls from death”.
Personal Reflection and Sharing
Lumen Gentium 62 says: “Mary’s function as mother of the believers in no way obscures or diminishes the unique mediation of Christ but, rather, shows its power”.
How true is it in my personal experience that the mediation of Christ becomes more powerful through my devotion to Mary?