Month of Mary – May Devotions – Day 21 – Mary, Mother of the Church!
“I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come” (John 16:12-13).
We praise and thank God for bringing His words to fulfilment as we saw Pope Francis on the 3rd of March, 2018 adding the title of Mary, Mother of the Church to the liturgical calendar of the Church. As he had said, this new liturgical celebration that is to come up every year, Monday after the celebration of Pentecost is meant to foster “the maternal sense of the Church” and “genuine Marian piety.” As a Church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we shall continue to experience the fulfilment of John 16:12-13. The guidance into all the truth of our faith and relationship with God. Let us be open to the Church as the Holy Spirit is unfailingly leading her to achieve the mission of Christ through us and for our sanctification and salvation.
Today, one of the truths of our faith that we are privileged to celebrate liturgically as a memorial is Mary, Mother of not only God but the Church of God. The divine logic is very simple and intelligible! She gave birth to the Head of the Church, Jesus Christ and biologically a head is always attached to a body that a single mother gives birth to. Therefore, the Mother of the head is equally the mother of the body, otherwise in the words of St. Louis de Montfort, we the body of Christ would be monsters in the order of grace and even nature; God forbid!
The Blessed Virgin Mary is known and revered under three distinct titles, qualities and roles such as Virgin, Mother and Queen. Amidst these titles, qualities and roles, the most important is that of Motherhood. A mother is a female parent who gives birth, cares for such life, protect and provide for the welfare of the child or children as the case may be. In our short discourse, our interest is to discuss the motherhood of Mary and how it relates to the Church.
Mary is a Mother in twofold. She is first the Mother of God and second, the Mother of Humanity. She is a physical Mother of Jesus and the spiritual Mother of all believers in Christ. She gave birth to Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:26-38). In the course of Christ’s conception, we the members of the Church who are Christ’s body were conceived alongside with Him because Christ is the Head of the Church and we the members are His body (Col. 1:18). For the head and body are usually conceived together and not separately! After the birth of Christ, Mary nursed and nurtured both the Head and the body and uniquely, under the Cross of Calvary, the Body of Christ, that is the Church was born spiritually with St. John representing the human race (John 19:25-27).
Mary as Mother of God and the Church, did all she could do for Our Lord and God – Jesus Christ. She prayed for His first coming, conceived Him by the power of the Holy Spirit, nursed, nurtured, secured and exposed His powers of working miracles whether miracles of grace (as with Elizabeth and St. John the Baptist – Luke 1:43-44) and miracles of nature (as with the wedding feast at Cana in Galilee – John 2:1-11) and she consoled Him in His Paschal Mystery (Suffering, Death, Burial, Resurrection and Ascension).
In the same vein that Mary exercises her Motherhood for Christ and the numerous roles associated with it, so she does for us whom she had given birth to, in the spiritual realm. She gives us life as our spiritual Mother and she sustains that life through the word and sacraments of her Son’s Church. As a Mother of the Church, she is our model of all virtues and a guide in the path of holiness. One who teaches us how to do the will of God (Luke 1:38), one who intercedes for us by her persuasive attitude/ability and blesses all we do (John 2:1-11). She prays for us (Acts 1:14); she shields and protects us from harm (Matt. 2:13-15), and she is a model for our faith (Luke 11: 27-28). Thank you dear Mother of the Church!
Good children are always grateful to their parents. Mary has done so much for us. What are our signs of gratitude? Very simple: DEVOTION AND IMITATION. By devotion (Rosary and Holy Eucharist), we thank God for the gift of Mary to humankind. We honour her by imitating her virtues. We apply her virtues in all we do. Because without virtues no one can see the Lord (Matt. 5:20). Mary was the first disciple of Jesus and she lived perfectly as Christ’s disciple ought to live and she was rewarded with the beatific vision. May Mary Mother of God and Mother of the Church Pray for us!
Prayerful reflection to be drawn from True devotion to Mary, no. 32
According to the explanation of some of the Fathers, the first man born of Mary is the God-man, Jesus Christ. If Jesus Christ, the head of mankind, is born of her, the predestinate, who are members of this head, must also as a necessary consequence be born of her. One and the same mother does not give birth to the head without the members nor to the members without the head, for these would be monsters in the order of nature. In the order of grace likewise the head and the members are born of the same mother. If a member of the mystical body of Christ, that is, one of the predestinate, were born of a mother other than Mary who gave birth to the head, he would not be one of the predestinate, nor a member of Jesus Christ, but a monster in the order of grace.
A prayer for Mothers
Lord God, through the gift of your only Begotten Son, Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, you have raised motherhood to an enviable height and recognised the place of women generally and Mary particularly in the scheme or economy of salvation. We praise and bless your mighty works. We also ask that women and men may come to this awareness and treat women nicely, with dignity and honour. We ask that women and men will respect the fruit of motherhood such as the child or children, nurture, protect and shield them from harm against abortion, psycho-traumas, trafficking, abuse, molestation and barbarism. Amen. We pray for women who are mothers to be cared for with love and deep respect. Amen. We pray for women longing for a child or children, please bless them with the fruit of the womb and for those whom you have something different for them, give them the grace to listen to you and for them to accept the states you have placed them and give them good children also through adoption and volunteering services and cares for children through Christ our Lord. Amen. Mary, Mother of the Church – Pray for us!