Today, the beginning of the year, Holy Mother Church looks to Our Blessed Mother. As all children look to their mother to see how they are doing the Church is no different. Mary is our ‘protectress’, her concern for those her Son loves is unfathomable and unlimited. This was evidenced by her fiat; because with her yes she opened the door of time to eternity; and by doing this allowed Love to enter our hearts in its fullness. Her yes wasn’t just in obedience to God but also in concern for mankind. Her actions throughout her life show her loving concern for people – from going in haste to help Elizabeth her cousin to urging her Son to fix a wrong at the wedding feast in Cana. From the social buffeting she took being pregnant and unwed in Nazareth; to escaping to Egypt; to standing below the Cross she gave witness to her concern for God’s people. She is a mother to Jesus and to us.
It is very, very important as Catholics to understand the nature of Mary’s motherhood, because it is the nature of the Church. Holy Mother Church is not a political action group she is a mother! The then Cardinal Ratzinger summed it up very well in a 1985 interview:
‘To use the very formulations of Vatican II, Mary is ‘figure,’ ‘image’ and ‘model’ of the Church. Beholding her the Church is shielded against the … masculinized models that views her as an instrument for a program of social-political action. In Mary, as figure and archetype, the Church again finds her own visage as Mother and cannot degenerate into the
complexity of a party, an organization or a pressure group in the service of human interests, even the noblest. If Mary no longer finds a place in many theologies and ecclesiologies,
the reason is obvious: they have reduced faith to an abstraction. And an abstraction does not need a Mother.’
‘An abstraction does not need a Mother!’ Wow!
My prayer for all of us is that we remember this small yet profound line. When we are in danger of passing judgment; when we are at the point of taking action (or not); when we are trying to witness to our faith; when we expect the Church do those same things – let’s remember this line and look to our Blessed Mother and not an idea – no matter how good because ideas don’t love – her Son does.