As we make our way through May, the Church encourages us to draw closer to the Blessed Virgin Mary. She is the Mother of God and Mother of the Church. In every way, Mary shows herself to be the First Disciple and the Mother of all believers.
As we deepen in our relationship with Mary, it might be good to review her role in salvation history. Such a recollection can help us to discern her role in our own lives. Such thoughts are particularly poignant, as we celebrate Mother’s Day and honor our earthly mothers this weekend.
In the sacred narrative of the Bible, we are told that the Fall of humanity came through a man and a woman. As such, God’s harmonious providence would heal such a wound by a man and a woman. The means by which we were damned would be the same means by which we would be saved. And so, a man and a woman would work together to bring about our redemption.
While the first man and woman were husband and wife, the second set of man and woman would be mother and son. Since the “woman” of the Fall became the “mother of all living,” God places our redemption within the context of motherhood, since the enmity—the battle—is for life, human and divine. And so, it is the seed of the woman who will crush the head of the Evil One. It will be the son of the woman who becomes our Savior and Redeemer.
The victory of the long-awaited Savior is brought about through his mother. They are united in his saving work. The woman—his mother—will have her part in the Father’s plan of salvation.
As a virgin and an angel—Eve and Lucifer—brought about damnation to humanity by a piece of fruit, so a virgin and an angel—Mary and Gabriel—will begin humanity’s redemption by the fruit of her womb.
Prepared for her mission and vocation from the first moment of her immaculate conception, and the recipient of the graces of redemption in a prevenient way, Mary of Nazareth, the woman of the promise of Genesis, served as the Savior’s Mother and cooperated with him in a singular way in the work of our redemption.
Our Lady continues to fulfill her vocation as she seeks to be our mother. The Lord Jesus, as he hung upon the cross, gave Mary to us as our own mother, as he said to Saint John (and to each of us): “Behold, your mother!”
Pope Francis captures this moment on Calvary, as he poses the thought: “Mothers do not betray, and in that instance, at the foot of the cross, none of us can say which one was the crueler passion: that of the innocent man who dies on the scaffold of the cross or the agony of a mother who accompanies her son in His final moments of life.”
The Blessed Virgin Mary, therefore, calls us to herself as she desires to embrace us, reorient us, and bring us closer to her divine Son. Mary calls us to love and trust Jesus Christ. She is the best of mothers and a preeminent help to us in growing in the supernatural life of her Son.
Pope Francis emphasizes this point, when he teaches: “We are not orphans, we have a mother in heaven. In difficult moments, may Mary, the mother that Jesus has given to us all, always guide our steps.”
As we recall and honor the role of Mary in salvation history, and as we seek to incorporate her more fully into our discipleship, we see her loving kindness, her warmth, and her directive actions to lead us to Jesus Christ.
Such love from a heavenly mother can be understood and cherished by the love of our earthly mothers. By considering the sacrificial kindness and self-outpouring love of our mothers, we come to a greater appreciation for them and for the Blessed Virgin Mary.
And so, on this Mother’s Day weekend, we are invited to reclaim Our Lady’s spiritual motherhood and express our heartfelt love for her and our earthly mothers.