Fr. G. Young

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FR-YOUNG BLOG :: ‘Mary Mother of the Church’ (24 May 2021)

From the dogmatic constitution on the Church of the Second Vatican Council
(Lumen Gentium, nn. 63-65)

Mary as type of the Church

Her privileged office as Mother of God unites the Blessed Virgin with the redeemer Son, and together with her singular graces and gifts unites her also in an intimate way with the Church. The Mother of God is a type of the Church, as Saint Ambrose taught, in the order, that is, of faith, love and perfect union with Christ.

In the mystery of the Church, which is itself rightly called mother and virgin, the Blessed Virgin Mary played a leading role, providing an example as virgin and mother in an eminent and unique way. In faith and obedience she brought forth on earth the very Son of the Father: she who knew not man was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit. As a new Eve she believed, not the serpent of old but the messenger of God, with a faith wholly free from doubt. She gave birth to the Son, appointed by God to be the firstborn among many brothers, that is, among those who believe; with a mother’s love she cooperates in their birth and development.

The Church contemplates the depth of her holiness, imitates her charity and in fidelity brings to completion the Father’s will; she herself becomes a mother through the word of God received in faith. Through preaching and by baptism she brings forth to new and everlasting life children conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of God. She is herself a virgin, preserving with integrity and purity the faith she has reposed in her Spouse. She imitates the mother of her Lord, and by the power of the Holy Spirit treasures with virginal purity faith in all its fullness, hope in all its certainty, love in all its sincerity.

In the person of the Blessed Virgin the Church already possesses the perfection by which it stands without spot or wrinkle; but the faithful still strive to grow in holiness as they conquer sin. So they lift up their eyes to Mary, shining above the whole community of God’s elect as the pattern of virtue. As the Church lovingly reflects on her and contemplates her in the light of the Word made man, it reverently enters more deeply into the surpassing mystery of the incarnation and takes on more and more the likeness of its Spouse.

Mary, because she has entered intimately into the history of salvation, in a certain sense gathers up in her own person the great truths of the faith and awakens their resonance when she is the object of preaching and veneration; she summons the faithful to her Son, to his sacrifice and to the Father’s love. In seeking to further the glory of Christ, the Church becomes more and more like Mary, its exalted type, as it continues its progress in faith, hope and charity, seeking and fulfilling the divine will in all things.

So also in its apostolic task the Church rightly looks to the one who bore Christ, Christ who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin in order that he might also be born and grow in the hearts of the faithful. In her whole life this virgin mother showed herself as an example of that motherly love that must animate all who share in the apostolic mission of the Church for the regeneration of mankind.

RESPONSORY

The salvation of the world has appeared to all who believe,
through the Virgin Mary.
– The splendor of her life illumines all the churches.

Let us celebrate with great devotion
this day in memory of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
– The splendor of her life illumines all the churches.

CONCLUDING PRAYER

Let us pray.

Lord our God, through your power and goodness
the Blessed Virgin,
the fairest fruit of your redeeming love,
shines forth as the perfect image of the Church;
grant to your people on their pilgrim way on earth
that, with eyes fixed on Mary,
they may follow closely in the footsteps of her Son
until they come to that fullness of glory,
which now they contemplate in his Mother
with hearts filled with joy.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
– Amen.

Let us praise the Lord.
– And give him thanks.