“Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death..”
The Blessed Virgin Mary has a great many titles, each one representing some honour or some facet of Her motherly intercession on our behalf. She is the Ark of the Covenent, the House of Gold, the Help of Christians, the Refuge of Sinners, the Queen of Peace, the Queen of the Holy Rosary and much more besides.
Every single one of these glorious titles is like a heavenly rose offered in Her honour. However, there is one single title which surpasses them all and which is the fragrant garden in which all of those heavenly roses, the other titles, blossom and give forth their heavenly fragrance; and it is this title – Mother of God.
Everything else rests upon the foundation of this single title.
Mary is truly the Mother of God, because Her Son, Jesus Christ, is both true God and true Man in one divine Person. And in this sense, the title says more about the Lord than His Mother; He is the reason for everything She is. The Catechism tells us –
“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”; it is made manifest above all at the hour of his Passion..” (Catechism, para.964)
In their ‘Dogmatic Constitution on the Church’, the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council expressed it in these words –
“The Virgin Mary . . . is acknowledged and honored as being truly the Mother of God and of the redeemer. . . . She is ‘clearly the mother of the members of Christ’ . . . since She has by Her charity joined in bringing about the birth of believers in the Church, who are members of its head.” (Lumen Gentium para.53)
And in a discourse given in November 1964, Pope St Paul VI very succintly said –
“Mary, Mother of Christ, Mother of the Church.”
And so, if Mary truly is the Mother of God and also our Mother, that places repsonsibilities upon Her; She has a duty of care toward each and every one of us, doing all in Her maternal power to help us to reach Heaven. However, it also places responsibilities upon us, Her children; we are obliged to honour Her as the Mother of God and as our Mother. And like any good child, this means we should go to Her in all our needs, with all the confidence of little children, certain that Her motherly love for us will never cease. She is the most loving and the most powerful advocate we have before the Lord, and She pleads for us to Him constantly and unceasingly. Perhaps She had some sense of this when, in the Gospel of Saint Luke, in praying Her ‘Magnificat’, She said –
“All generations will call Me blessed.”
The Church reminds us that –
“By Her complete adherence to the Father’s will, to His Son’s redemptive work, and to every prompting of the Holy Spirit, the Virgin Mary is the Church’s model of faith and charity. Thus She is a ‘preeminent and . . . wholly unique member of the Church’; indeed, She is the ‘exemplary realization’ (typus) of the Church.. Her 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 Savior’s work of restoring supernatural life to souls. For this reason She is a mother to us in the order of grace’..
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 fulfillment 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.” (Catechism, parae.967-969)
On this great solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, let us confidently approach this sweetest and most immaculate of mothers, with the full confidence of children, and place our own causes at Her feet, asking Her to present all of our needs to the Lord, Her Son.