Mary, Mother of the Church

Today, May 21, is the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church.

This memorial was inscribed by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments only last February 11. This memorial is to be celebrated every year on the Monday after Pentecost.

The Gospel reading for the memorial is John 19:25-34:

Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. After this, aware that everything was now finished, in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I thirst.” There was a vessel filled with common wine. So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop and put it up to his mouth. When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, “It is finished.” And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.

Now since it was preparation day, in order that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath, for the sabbath day of that week was a solemn one, the Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken and they be taken down. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately Blood and water flowed out.

Mary is the Mother of the Church. She gave her fiat to be the Mother of Jesus at the Annunciation, carried the Word Incarnate in her womb for nine months, gave birth to Jesus and raised Him to a man. At the wedding at Cana, it was Mary who initiated Jesus’ public ministry when, seeing that the wine for the wedding guests had run out, she turned to Jesus and asked that He fix the problem. Jesus asked why this matter concerned Him, and said that His time had not yet come. Mary simply directed the servants to “do whatever He tells you.” Jesus turned water into wine, saving the bride and groom from humiliation. Surely, this Scripture is the inspiration for the Memorare:

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help or sought your intercession was left unaided.

Inspired by this confidence, I fly to you, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to you I do come, before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful.

O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in your mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

How beautiful and how hopeful to know that we have a generous Mother in heaven; a Mother whose Son cannot help but respond to her petitions! St. Therese of Lisieux famously said, “Mary is more Mother than Queen.”

Pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.

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