Mary, Mother of the Church
As the Easter season draws to a close, the Church celebrates the Feast of Pentecost which is actually considered “the birthday of the Church.” Since Mary remained with the Apostles in the upper room awaiting the coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:13-14), she is seen as an important participant in this birthing and as early as the 4th Century, was given the title, Mother of the Church. In 2018, Pope Francis added the Feast of Mary, Mother of the Church, to the universal calendar. This feast is the Monday after Pentecost.
Just as Mary gave birth physically to the body of Jesus, she gives birth spiritually to His Mystical Body on earth, the Church. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church No. 843, the “Church” is the holy people of God. Mary is indeed a mother to this body.
As our mother, Mary is a model and inspiration for all followers of Jesus. He acclaimed her not only as mother, but also as a faithful disciple. “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act upon it.” (Luke 8:21) As first among His disciples, she teaches us how to live a life of virtue.
Joys and Sorrows
Her life, like ours, was filled with joys and sorrows. She must have had happy times such as when she found Jesus after losing Him in the temple or when observing Him at the Wedding feast at Cana or watching Him gather the little children or seeing the crowds waving palms in His honor.
Certainly, Mary also experienced difficult times. At the Annunciation, she gave her consent to God’s incomprehensible request to become the mother of Jesus and face an unknown future. Then, as refugees, she and Joseph with the Child had to drop everything and go … flee into Egypt. As her son grew and entered into His public life, Mary experienced fear and puzzlement when she saw Jesus rejected by man. Finally, she stood helplessly at the foot of the cross as a faithful witness to His Passion and death. In all circumstances, she repeated her “yes” to what God asked of her.
May lived her whole life in union with the mysteries of her Son’s life. She was a redemptive collaborator in all the work He would accomplish as He established the Church. And now that she is eternally united with her Son in heaven, she is eternally available to us, the holy People of God, as our intercessor.
We can look to Mary to intercede for us. Because she herself experienced so many human trials, she understands our needs. When life confronts us with its difficulties, we, the People of God, can turn to Mary, Mother of the Church for help. In this maternal role, she nurtures us spiritually and helps us develop the divine life of God’s grace within us.
If all this is so wondrously true, we ought to remember what a current TV ad reminds us to do.
“Call your mother.”