The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church
The Blessed Virgin Mary has been given the title of Mother of the Church since she gave birth to Christ, the Head of the Church, and she became the Mother of the redeemed people before her Son had given up the spirit on the Cross. Pope Paul VI solemnly confirmed the title in an address to the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council on 21 November 1964 and decreed that the whole Christian people should, by the use of this beautiful title, give still greater honour to the Mother of God.
‘The joyous veneration given to the Mother of God by the contemporary Church, in light of reflection on the mystery of Christ and on his nature, cannot ignore the figure of a woman (cf. Gal 4:4), the Virgin Mary, who is both the Mother of Christ and Mother of the Church. In some ways this was already present in the mind of the Church from the premonitory words of Saint Augustine and Saint Leo the Great. In fact the former says that Mary is the mother of the members of Christ, because with charity she cooperated in the rebirth of the faithful into the Church, while the latter says that the birth of the Head is also the birth of the body, thus indicating that Mary is at once Mother of Christ, the Son of God, and mother of the members of his Mystical Body, which is the Church’ (Decree of the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship).
‘This is your mother.’
I grew up attending the Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Succour. My parish priest decided to have the devotion before the Saturday Sunset Mass, and it became a family habit to attend both the devotion and the Sunset Mass on a regular basis. This devotion arose from the strong following which our Blessed Mother had amongst her followers, who attended the service faithfully for years at the Church of St Alphonsus, or commonly known as Novena Church amongst Singaporeans. This devotion in particular, grew on me and the prayers were indeed very consoling.
The ‘Prayer of Confidence’, the Memorare and the Marian hymns accompanied me through the various stages of my life — National Service, university life, early years of working, times of good and bad health. It was almost as if Mother Mary was the constant and silent companion witnessing every facet of my life. Preparing for this reflection has made me play the CD, yes I am of a certain age where CDs were my companions, which soothed all the anxiety within me. Mary is the Mother of the Church and we are the Church. You and I are members of the mystical Body of Christ by virtue of our Baptism and this makes our Blessed Mother, OUR Mother.
The Church has given us this feast immediately after Pentecost for a reason. God the Holy Spirit, has come down to invigorate us to boldly proclaim the message of Christ to all whom we meet. We can draw a role model from our Blessed Mother, who bore all the struggles in her life with patience and fortitude. She has been the silent witness to each one of us — to show us how to live out the virtues of the Holy Spirit in the midst of the struggles of our lives.
Let us continue to pray with the Blessed Mother to grant us peace of mind and calmness of heart amidst this uncertain world.
(Today’s Oxygen by Nicholas Chia)
Prayer: O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions but in your mercy, hear and answer me. Amen
Thanksgiving: Thank you, Mother Mary.