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Have your mother prayed for by Fr. Altman in our Mother’s Day Spiritual Bouquet

(LifeSiteNews) –– Mary’s role as mother of the Church is one which has been the topic of many beautiful writings throughout the centuries. Her spiritual maternity is intimately linked to every aspect of her vocation and mission: that of Mother of God, Co-Operator in the redemption, Mother and type of the Church, and Mediatrix of graces.

It is at the wedding feast of Cana, where Mary is responsible for calling to her Son’s attention the need for wine at the celebration, that Christ first addresses her under the title “woman.” When Mary is styled as “woman” it is in the most beautiful and crucial passages relating to salvation, particularly in the protoevangelium and at the foot of the cross. “Woman” denotes the passages of Marian Co-Redemption in Scripture, and it thus also denotes the passages pertaining to her spiritual maternity.

St. Alphonsus Ligouri, writing on the wedding at Cana, further notes how Mary is “called the salvation of all who invoke her aid.” Her turning towards her Son at the wedding shows her role of a mother: firstly as the mother of Christ but also as mother of the Church, who cares for her children and wishes them to receive the ultimate good – union with God.

In his work The Glories of Mary, Ligouri writes that Mary’s love for her children is intensified through her love for Christ, since He entrusted her to us, and us to her. “Our mother loves us much, because we were recommended to her by her beloved Jesus, when He before expiring said to her, ‘Woman behold they son’, for we were all represented in the person of St. John.”

St. Alphonsus notes how some of these final words of Christ were those entrusting Mary to the Church, both as mother and type. Indeed just as a mother brings forth life into the world, Mary as the Mediatrix of graces, is the channel of life. “It was then by this great offering of Mary that we were born to the life of grace; we are therefore her very dear children, since we cost her so great suffering.”

Mary’s motherly love for man is rooted above all in Christ. It is also directed towards Him, since the love and desire she has for souls is that her children will imitate Christ. As such, this is one of the reasons why her love cannot fail, since it is perfectly united to the desire of her Son for all to take up the cross and follow Him. Indeed, Ligouri teaches that “in us, [Mary] beheld that which has been purchased at the price of the death of Jesus Christ.” Her love is thus increased, if possible, since “she has seen that we are valued to such a degree by her Son, that He did not disdain to purchase us at such a cost.”

These words are supported by the writings of Fr. Neubert, in his seminal but almost forgotten work Mary in Doctrine. Fr. Neubert notes how Mary’s spiritual maternity is in fact intrinsically linked to her divine maternity, for one cannot be separated from the other. 

God did not decide by one decrees that His Son was the become the Son of Mary, and the by another decree, that He would become head of mankind, head of this Mystical Body which we form together with Him.

Rather, Mary is the mother of the “whole Christ,” according to Neubert’s phrase, meaning that “bearing Jesus in her womb, Mary also bore there all those whose life was included in that of the Savior.”

“Jesus took natural life from Mary in order to be able to make us live a supernatural life; and Mary became the natural Mother of Jesus in order to become our supernatural Mother,” writes the priest. Indeed, the spiritual maternity of Mary is not something simply entrusted to her at a specific point in time, Neubert teaches, but rather something much deeper: “it is a reality bound up with the whole mission, the entire raison d’être of the Blessed Virgin.”

Drawing parallels between the spiritual motherhood and natural motherhood, Fr. Neubert designates three moments in “our supernatural birth” which he presents for further meditation. 

Firstly, drawing from the teaching of Pope Pius X, he notes how Mary “conceives us at Nazareth…for without the Incarnation we would all still be buried in the death of sin. But it was in Mary that God accomplished the Incarnation.” 

Secondly, Neubert teaches that Mary “brings us forth on Calvary” as the “mystery of the Incarnation is completed by that of the Redemption.” Due to Mary’s co-operation in the act of Redemption he spiritual motherhood “which began in the first mystery [Annunciation and Incarnation] was completed in the second.”

Thirdly, Mary “causes each soul to live by obtaining grace for it,” for Mary’s motherhood did not cease on Calvary, but continues to this day: “Mary continues her mission of Co-Redemptrix in heaven by distributing now to each soul in particular the graces she helped merit for all souls in general.”

Hence Neubert echoes St. Alphonsus in writing that “by her threefold co-operation in the Incarnation, the Redemption, and the distribution of grace –a co-operation which is indeed threefold in time, but only one in intention – she has truly given us supernatural life, and she has as truly co-operated in our birth as children of God, just as our earthly mothers have contributed to our birth as children of Adam.”

Have your mother prayed for by Fr. Altman in our Mother’s Day Spiritual Bouquet