“The most gracious and wise God, desirous of bringing about the redemption of the world,” when he came to the fullness of time, sent forth his Son, made of woman, that we might receive the adoption of children “(Gal 4: 4-5). ‘For the sake of us men and for our salvation he descended from the heavens and was incarnate by the work of the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary’ (Symbolum Constantinopolitanum). This divine mystery of salvation is revealed and perpetuated in the Church which the Lord has constituted as His Body. Together with Christ as Head and in communion with all his saints, the faithful should also venerate the memory ‘first of the glorious ever Virgin Mary, Mother of God and of our Lord Jesus Christ’ (Roman Missal). ”
Since the dawn of Christianity, the Church has always venerated Mary as Mother of the Church, although this title was solemnly given in 1964 by Pope Paul VI. There is a logical reason for this fact, she is the Mother of Jesus, head of the Church, and the Church is the Mystical Body of Christ. For this reason, Mary is the mother of all who were born for Christ.
The Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium confirms that “for the gift and mission of divine motherhood, which unites her to her Redeemer Son, and for her singular graces and functions, there is also the Virgin closely linked to the Church: the Mother of God is the type and the figure of the Church, in the order of faith, charity and perfect union with Christ “(Lumen Gentium, n 63). We thus see Mary’s clear connection with the Church. It is so intimate a connection that we cannot read the history of salvation without relating it to the person of the Virgin Mary.
Mary is the image and likeness of God
From the anthropological point of view, the Virgin Mary can be seen as the human model that comes closest to the true image and likeness of God. Moreover, she can serve as the “eminent and unique model of a virgin and mother, because, believing and obeying, she begot on the earth, without having known a man, by the work and grace of the Holy Spirit … And she gave birth to a Son, that God established the firstborn of many brethren (Rom 8:29), that is, of the faithful, for whose generation and education she cooperates with the love of her mother “(Lumen Gentium, n.63)
Paul VI, who had given Mary the official title of ‘Mother of the Church’, developed the theme in the Apostolic Exhortation on the Cult of the Virgin Mary, speaks of her as a model of those who know how to hear and accept the Word of God in faith. This is a specific mission of the Church: to hear, to welcome, to proclaim, to venerate and to distribute the Word of God as bread of life (Marialis Cultus, n.17).
Mary is intercessor
Another model of Our Lady is to be prayerful and intercessory. “Mary is, moreover, the Virgin given to prayer. Thus, in fact, she appears to us in her visit to the Precursor’s mother, when her spirit merges into expressions of glorification to God, of humility, faith and hope “(Marialis Cultus, n. 17) Today, the Church presents the needs of her children to the Father, praises the Lord without ceasing, and intercedes for the salvation of the world.
The Second Vatican Council also presents Mary as Virgin and Mother. In this way she possesses a “prodigious motherhood, constituted by God as a prototype and model of the fruitfulness of the Virgin and the Church, and who in turn becomes a mother, with preaching and baptism, gives birth to new and immortal life, the children conceived by the action of the Holy Spirit and born of God “(Lumen Gentium, n. 64).
Mary is an essential part of the Church, and this implies that the Church is within Mary and Mary is within the Church. This truth is explicit in the words of Pope John Paul II in the Encyclical Redemptoris Mater, where he says: “There is a singular correspondence between the moment of the Incarnation of the Word and the moment of the birth of the Church. And the person who unites these two moments is Mary: Mary in Nazareth and Mary in the Upper Room of Jerusalem “(Redemptoris Mater, n. 24).
Mary, Mother of the Church
Christ is the head of the Church, (Eph 1,22) we his members, (1 Cor. 12:27). If Mary is Mother of Jesus head, it can not but be also mother of its members. Mary is the mother of all men by the grace of Christ the Redeemer.
In short, from what we reflect, we can say that Mary is Mother of the Church for at least two reasons. The first and most important, she is the mother of Jesus Christ, so she has a particular collaboration in the new economy of salvation, that is, the Son of God assumes human nature, so as to free man from sin through mystery of His flesh. The second, not least, in the whole community of the elect, is the best and most perfect model of virtue.