With Mary

Publish date 31-10-2023

by Cesare Falletti

In the months of August and September the Church commemorates and celebrates the Virgin Mary, Mother of God 5 times. The last chapter of Lumen Gentium, the conciliar document on the Church, is a short treatise on the Madonna, precious and profound, which makes us know the Mother of Jesus in the right way and in such a way as to nourish the intelligence and illuminate the heart.

Marian devotion, present in the Church since the first centuries, took on notes and nuances over time that placed the Virgin in a glorious light, but not united with the entire path of the Church, of which Mary is the first member, the figure and the Mother. The bishops of the time had to discuss a lot to highlight the importance of speaking about Mary in the Constitution on the Church and not keeping her apart, separated from the people of God. The risk was in fact separating her from the mystery of salvation which concerns all people human. Mary also needed salvation, despite her Immaculate Conception. In fact, as the formulation of the dogma clearly says, it is thanks to the merits of the paschal mystery of Christ that enveloped her - so to speak in advance - that Mary was saved from sin already in her conception, and was able to welcome the Word of God Savior becoming the place where, by uniting with our humanity, God united us with his divinity. For this reason Mary is part of the Church and, despite being its most excellent and holy member, she walks as a pilgrim with all of us and works so that all humanity is united with her in the adoration of the Triune and Unique God. If in the annunciation it was the place of the incarnate presence of the Son of God, who also became the Son of Mary, in the Cenacle awaiting Pentecost, it was the point around which the apostles remained united and received the Holy Spirit who they, with Mary, made the first nucleus of the Church, bride of Christ and presence in the world of the Word of God; mouth that announced the Word of God to all peoples and in all languages.

Pope Paul VI wanted to complete the conciliar reflection by proclaiming Mary Mother of the Church, to underline how the Church and Christ are one body, which did not abandon the world in the Ascension of Christ, which on the contrary it is the realization of Jesus' final promise: "I am with you until the end of the world". Mary, responding in the fullness of her human freedom with her "Yes" to the divine invitation brought by the archangel Gabriel, received the Holy Spirit and became his temple and the human person of the Word was formed in her: with baptism in Christ we too become the Body of Christ, Children of God and Temple of the Spirit and together living members of the Church. For this reason, as our conciliar document says: the Church with affection of piety venerates her as a most beloved Mother.

Mary, in this light, finds her magnificent place in Christian devotion, without being detached from it as a figure parallel to Christ; she does not lose any of her privileges, nor of her prerogatives that make her close to us, but she inserts our prayers, supplications and praises into the mystery of the Cross and Resurrection of Christ, the unique mystery of our redemption. As Saint Bernard said: «We say: Mary! And she says: Jesus."

The Mother of God is a figure of the Church in the order of faith, charity and perfect union with Christ. In this light is contained all the devotion of Christians, who recognize her as a virgin given exclusively to the divine Spouse, who is the Spouse of the Church, and Mother of all believers, because in her faith and in her charity she generates them to God the Father, like the Church, Mother of believers, womb in which they are born to divine life.

Cesare Falletti
NP August / September 2023

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