Love and Mary, Mother of God and Mother of the Church
As we begin a New Year on the civil calendar today, the Church lifts up for us the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, who ushered in a new beginning for all humanity and whose “soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord” (Luke 1:46). “Whenever we look to Mary,” Pope Francis has said, “we come to believe once again in the revolutionary nature of love and tenderness” (Evangelii Gaudium, 288).
When Mary said “yes” to God – “May it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38) – she gave us our Savior Jesus Christ, God who has come to dwell among us and who continues to abide in the world. What a gift her faith and fiat are to us and the whole human family. The Incarnation of the Word changed everything – God became one with us so that we might have eternal life thanks to her faithful response to him. What is more, because of Mary, the Lord is present in the world today in his mystical body, the Church, who looks to her as our mother too.
With maternal concern, Mary the Mother of God who is also Mother of the Church looks out for us and accompanies us in our pilgrim journey. Just as she “was able to turn a stable into a home for Jesus, with poor swaddling clothes and an abundance of love,” teaches Pope Francis, Mary is able to transform our own impoverished humanity with her abundant love, “ever concerned that wine not be lacking in our lives.” As a true mother who understands all our pains, she “draws near to us and accompanies us throughout life,” he affirms. “She shares our struggles and she constantly surrounds us with God’s love” (Evangelii Gaudium, 286).
It is not surprising that people have such affection for this humble woman of Nazareth, raising up magnificent churches in her name, such as the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception with its newly-dedicated Trinity Dome, and calling her by a litany of names and titles: Mother of God, Mother of the Church, Mother of Mercy, Queen of Heaven, Queen of Peace, Help of the Afflicted, Mirror of Justice, Mystical Rose, Morning Star, Our Lady, Patroness of the United States and of all the Americas, and much more. In all this praise, we turn to her for comfort, inspiration and strength, knowing she will always lead us lovingly to Jesus.
Our Blessed Mother is also the supreme model of what our faith should be. We should want to have that same faith as she who believed that “nothing will be impossible for God” (Luke 1:37), and be able to say “yes” to God all the time. If we were each to fully cooperate with God’s power and grace, like Mary, imagine all the light and love there would be in the world.