Mother of the Church . . .

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Mary Introduction
Mary's Litany

Christ instituted the Church.  He placed Peter at its head saying, "The gates of hell will not prevail against it."  The Church is not Peter's Church, it is the means through which its members receive the fullness of Christ's life.  The sacraments convey Christ's life to us; the central of which is the Eucharist, the reality of Christ's actual Body and Blood under the forms of bread and wine.  Further, Christ told His apostles that what the Church teaches in matters of faith and morals under the leadership of the pope is bound not only on earth but also in heaven.  With Christ's commission, he assured his apostles they would be guided by the Holy Spirit in their decisions.  The Church of Christ founded upon the apostles and their successors becomes His body and vehicle through which its members are sanctified, made holy.

The role of Mary while she carried Jesus and during his life was one of nurturing the body of her Son.  In the same way, she now cares for the physical and spiritual needs of members of her Son's church, the members of her Son's body.  Mary's love extends to each of her Son's children.  Her joy is their union with Him in heaven after their time on earth is completed.  Not only through her promptings, petitions and supplications to God the Father, the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, does she obtain for us the necessary strengths to become loving and good followers of her Son, but she places us under her loving protection to shield us from spiritual and physical dangers.  Should we choose to stray from the love of her Son, Mary draws us back to the sacraments which reunite us again to the church and her Son.

When she was asked to become the mother of the Messiah, Mary's faith enabled her to give a humble and generous response . . . .  Mary's faith was frequently tested during the public life of Jesus, especially when she witnessed the rejection of her son.  At the foot of the cross, her pilgrimage of faith had its moment of most severe testing.  Mary continued to believe that, because Jesus was the son of God.  His sacrifice would bring salvation to humanity. (1)
        St. John Paul II, pope

Although in the most pure womb of Mary there was but one grain of corn which was Jesus Christ, yet it is called a heap of wheat, because all the elect were virtually contained in it. (2)
        St. Ambrose

At the same moment when Mary consented to become the mother of God, she also consented to become the mother of all the children of salvation, and bore them already at that time beneath her heart. (3)
        St. Bernadino of Siena


Mary symbolizes the Church, which, espoused to Christ as a virgin, has conceived us of the Holy Spirit, and as a virgin has also given us birth. (4)
        St. Isidore of Seville

Even while living in this world, the heart of Mary was so filled with tenderness and compassion for men, that no one ever suffered so much for his own pains as Mary suffered for the pains of others. (5)
        St. Jerome

Mary seeks for those who approach her devoutly and with reverence, for such she loves, nourishes, and adopts as her children.  (6)
        St. Bonaventure

God could have given us the Redeemer of the human race and the Founder of the Faith in another way than through the Virgin, but since divine Providence has been pleased that we should have the Man-God through Mary, who conceived him by the Holy Ghost and bore him in her womb, it only remains for us to receive Christ through the hands of Mary. (7)
        St. Pius X, pope

Who can number the secret gifts of grace which God has bestowed upon his Church through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin? (8)
        St. Pius X, pope

One cannot talk about the Church if Mary, the Mother of the Lord, is not present with His brothers.  Only Mary could make one heart and one mind of Jesus' Apostles, as though Christ wanted to show us that He entrusted to His Mother's maternal care the mission of making the Church a single family.  Yes, in Mary we have the bond of communion of all of us who, through faith and Baptism, are disciples and brothers of Jesus. (9)
        St. John Paul II, pope

Bearing in her womb the Savior, Mary can also be said to have borne all those whose life the Savior's life enshrined.  All of us, then, as many as are knit to Christ . . . have come forth from Mary's womb: one body, as it were, knit together with its Head. (10)
        St. Pius X, pope

Grown-up children, whom life has separated, come back to their mother for some family anniversary.  And even if they have not always got on well together, today things are different; they feel united, sharing the same affection. (11)
        St. Josemaria Escriva

She hastens to show us exiles in this vale of tears, Jesus, the way of salvation. (12)
        St. Pius X, pope

Through you have the faithful been brought to the labor of holy baptism and the Church has been founded among every people. (13)
        Leo XIII, pope

Be mindful of Christians who are your servants; commend the prayers of all; help all to realize their hopes; strengthen the faith, keep the Church in unity. (14)
        St. Germain

In a spiritual and mystical fashion, we are all children of Mary, and she is Mother of us all.  The Mother, spiritually, indeed, but truly the Mother of the members of Christ, whom we are. (15)
        St. Pius X, pope

To the beloved Mother of God, Mediatrix of heavenly graces, we entrust the priests of the whole world in order that, through her intercession, God will be pleased to give a generous outpouring of his spirit which will move all ministers of the altar to holiness and, through their ministry, will spiritually renew the face of the earth. (16)
        Pius XII, pope

Who can number the secret gifts of grace which God has bestowed upon his Church through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin? (17)
        St. Pius X, pope

That most glorious Virgin, exalted above the choirs of the Angels and the countless legions of the Saints, never ceases in heaven to make most efficacious intercession with her son for all the faithful on earth. (18)
        Pius IX, pope

Mary’s entire existence is a hymn to life, a hymn of love to life: she gave birth to Jesus in the flesh and was there at the birth of the church, Calvary and in the upper room. (19)
          Francis I, pope

We have a confident hope that God will at length let himself be moved and have pity upon the state of his Church, and give ear to the prayers coming to him through her whom he has chosen to be the dispenser of all heavenly graces. (20)
        Leo XIII, pope

From her heavenly abode, she began, by God's decree, to watch over the Church, to assist and befriend us as our Mother; so that she who was so intimately associated with the mystery of human salvation is just as closely associated with the distribution of the graces which from all time will flow from the redemption. (21)
        Leo XIII, pope

The maternal office of Mediatrix really began at the very moment of her consent to the Incarnation; it was manifested for the first time by the first sign of Christ's grace, at Cana in Galilee; from that moment it rapidly spread down through the ages with the growth of the Church. (22)
        Pius XII, pope

It was she who gave miraculous birth to Christ Our Lord, adorned already in her virginal womb with the dignity of Head of the Church, and so brought forth the source of all heavenly life. (23)
        Pius XII, pope

Nothing must ever make us forget the reality and the knowledge that we are, all of us, sons of the same mother Mary, who lives in heaven, who is the bond of union for the Mystical Body of Christ, and who as the new Eve, and the new mother of the living, desires to lead all men to the truth and the grace of her divine Son. (24)
        Pius XII, pope

Let all the children of the Catholic Church . . . continue to venerate, invoke and pray to the Most Blessed Virgin Mary . . . Under her guidance, under her patronage, under her kindness and protection, nothing is to be feared, nothing is hopeless, because, while bearing towards us a truly motherly affection and having in her care the work of our salvation, she is solicitous about the whole human race. (25)
        Pius IX, pope

Mary tells us why church buildings exist: they exist so that room may be made within us for the Word of God; so that within us and through us the Word may also be made flesh today. (26)
        Benedict XVI, pope

The first thing that Mary did after receiving the Angel's message was to go "in haste" to the house of her cousin Elizabeth in order to be of service to her (Lk 1:39),  The Virgin's initiative was one of genuine charity; it was humble and courageous, motivated by faith in God's Word and the inner promptings of the Holy Spirit.  Those who love forget about themselves and place themselves at the service of their neighbor.  Here we have the image and model of the Church!  Every Ecclesial Community, like the Mother of Christ, is called to accept with total generosity the mystery of God who comes to dwell within her and guides her steps in the ways of love. (27)
        Benedict XVI, pope

Yes, God was attracted by the humility of Mary, who found favor in his eyes (Lk 1:30).  She thus became the Mother of God, the image and model of the Church, chosen among the peoples to receive the Lord's blessing and communicate it to the entire human family. (28)
        Benedict XVI, pope

In the Magnificat, the great hymn of Our Lady, we find some surprising words.  Mary says: "Henceforth all generations will call me blessed."  The Mother of the Lord prophesies the Marian praises of the Church for all of the future, the Marian devotion of the People of God until the end of time.  In praising Mary, the Church did not invent something "adjacent" to Scripture: she responded to this prophecy which Mary made at that moment of grace. (29)
        Benedict XVI, pope

Like Mary, the Church also remains in silence in order to welcome and keep the interior resonances of the Word made flesh and in order not to lose the divine-human warmth that radiates from his presence. (30)
        Benedict XVI, pope

The Church, like the Virgin, does none other than show Jesus, the Savior, to everyone, and reflects to each one the light of his face, the splendor of goodness and truth. (31)
        Benedict XVI, pope

"How can this come about?", we also ask ourselves with the words that the Virgin addresses to the Archangel Gabriel.  And she herself, the Mother of Christ and of the Church, gives us the answer: with her example of total availability to God's will - "May it be done to me according to your word."  She teaches us to be a "Manifestation" of the Lord, opening our hearts to the power of grace and faithfully abiding by the words of her Son, light of the world and the ultimate end of history. (32)
        Benedict XVI, pope

Think of Mary on the Memorial of her Presentation in the Temple as Mother and model of the Church, who welcomes in herself both vocations: to virginity and to marriage, to contemplative life and to active life. (33)
        Benedict XVI, pope

When we receive Holy Communion, like Mary and united to her, we too clasp the wood that Jesus with his love transformed into an instrument of salvation, and pronounce our "Amen, our "Yes" to Love, crucified and risen. (34)
        Benedict XVI, pope

Mary is a woman who loves.  We sense this in her quiet gestures recounted by the infancy narratives in the Gospel' in the delicacy with which she recognizes the need of the spouses at Cana and makes it known to Jesus; in the humility with which she recedes into the background during Jesus' public life, knowing that the Son must establish a new family and the Mother's hour will come only with the Cross, which will be Jesus' true hour.  When the disciples flee, Mary will remain beneath the Cross; at the hour of Pentecost, it will be they who gather around her as they wait for the Holy Spirit. (35)
        Benedict XVI, pope

We contemplate Mary in the glorious mystery of Pentecost.  The Holy Spirit, who at Nazareth descended upon her to make her the Mother of the Word Incarnate, descended on the nascent Church joined together around her in the Upper Room. (36)
        Benedict XVI, pope

We invoke with trust Mary Most Holy, in order to obtain a renewed outpouring of the Spirit on the Church in our days. (37)
        Benedict XVI, pope

May the Virgin Mary precede and guide us in our union with Christ.  In her we meet, pure and undeformed, the true essence of the Church, and so through her, we learn to know and love the mystery of the Church that lives in history. (38)
        Benedict XVI, pope

The icon of the Annunciation, more than any other, helps us to see clearly how everything in the Church goes back to that mystery of Mary's acceptance of the divine Word, by which, through the action of the Holy Spirit, the Covenant between God and humanity was perfectly sealed. (39)
        Benedict XVI, pope

Everything in the Church, every institution and ministry, including that of Peter and his Successors, is under the Virgin's mantle, within the grace-filled horizon of her "yes" to God's will. (40)
        Benedict XVI, pope

Mary constitutes for the Church her truest image: she in whom the Ecclesial Community must continually discover the authentic sense of its own vocation and its own mystery. (41)
        Benedict XVI, pope

The heart of Mary is visited by the grace of the Father, is permeated by the power of the Spirit and interiorly compelled by the Son.  In her heart, we see a perfectly human heart inserted into the charity of the Most Holy Trinity which is perfect in Mary and becomes the model of the Church's charity. (42)
        Benedict XVI, pope

On Calvary, Jesus gave Mary to us as Mother and entrusted us to her as children. (43)
        Benedict XVI, pope

Let us entrust ourselves to Mary's maternal intercession, so that the Holy Spirit may descend in abundance upon the Church in our day, fill the hearts of all the faithful and enkindle in them, the fire of his love. (44)
        Benedict XVI, pope

If we are to understand the mission of the Church, we must go back to the Upper Room where the disciples remained together, praying with Mary, the "Mother," awaiting the Spirit that had been promised.  This icon of the nascent Church should be a constant source of inspiration for every Christian community.  Apostolic and missionary fruitfulness is not principally due to programs and pastoral methods that are cleverly drawn up and "efficient," but is the result of the community's constant prayer. (45)
        Benedict XVI, pope

Where Mary is, there is the archetype of total self-giving and Christian discipleship.  Where Mary is, there is the Pentecostal breath of the Holy Spirit; there is new beginning and authentic renewal. (46)
        Benedict XVI, pope

Just as Mary bore Jesus him in her womb - a defenseless little child, totally dependent on the love of his Mother - so Jesus Christ, under the species of bread, has entrusted himself to us.  Let us love this Jesus who gives himself so completely into our hands.  Let us love him as Mary loved him.  And let us bring him to others, just as Mary brought him to Elizabeth as the source of joyful exultation. (47)
        Benedict XVI, pope

May the Virgin Mary who accompanied with motherly solicitude the development of the newborn Church, also guide our footsteps in our time and obtain for us a new Pentecost of love.  May she especially make us all aware of being missionaries, that is, those who have been sent out by the Lord to be his witnesses at every moment of our life. (48)
        Benedict XVI, pope

The Virgin Mary, who did not communicate to the world an idea but Jesus, the Incarnate Word, is an unparalleled model of evangelization. (49)
        Benedict XVI, pope

The unique and unrepeatable position that Mary occupies in the Community of Believers stems from her fundamental vocation to being Mother of the Redeemer.  Precisely as such, Mary is also Mother of the Mystical Body of Christ, which is the Church. (51)
        Benedict XVI, pope

The month of May, coinciding at least in part with the Easter Season, is a most favorable time for explaining the figure of Mary as a Mother who accompanies the community of disciples united in prayer in expectation of the Holy Spirit. (52)
        Benedict XVI, pope

Mary is a mother, a mother who takes care above all of the health of her children and knows how to heal them with her great and tender love. (53)
          Francis I, pope

With the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the Church's own memory and life of worship has become like Mary's heart, a treasure house of the living memory of Christ and his mysteries. (54)
        Archbishop William Lori

Like Mary's memory, the Church's memory is alive in the Holy Spirit, such that when the Church remembers events in the life of Christ, they are present before us. (55)
        Archbishop William Lori

Not surprisingly, then, the Blessed Mother is intimately connected with the mission that Christ entrusted to the Church - namely, to preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth. (56)
        Archbishop William Lori

Only after the Last Judgment will Mary get any rest; from now until then, she is much too busy with her children. (57)
        St. John Marie Vianney

Because Mary loved Jesus more than Peter did, it was to her that Jesus confided in the person of John, beneath the world’s redemptive Cross, all men to be her sons: the sheep and the lambs of the flock, in the fold and outside it, making of her in some sort a divine guardian, the common and universal Mother of all the believes, and making her like to a Peter who is the common and universal Father and the earthly shepherd. (58)
     Pius XII, pope

Mary is the august Sovereign of the Church militant, suffering, and triumphant; the Queen of Saints, the mistress of every virtue, of love, of fear, of knowledge, and of holy hope. (59)
     Pius XII, pope

If Peter holds the keys of heaven, Mary has the keys of the heart of God.  If Peter binds and looses, Mary binds also with the chains of love.  She also looses, by the art of forgiveness.  If Peter is the guardian and the minister of indulgence, Mary is the prudent and generous Treasurer of divine favors, and to desire grace without recourse to her, is to desire to fly without wings.” (60)
     Pius XII, pope 

If the Blessed Virgin is at one and the same time Mother of God and of men, who can doubt but that she employs all her credit with her Son, “the head of the body which is the Church”, that He may shower upon us who are his members the gifts of his grace, notably that of knowing Him and living by Him. (61)
    St. Pius X, pope

It would be impossible to say all that Mary added in extent and efficacy of her help for the early church when she was raised to the side of her Son, to that height of heavenly glory which was worthy of her dignity and the splendor of her merits. (62)
     Leo XIII, pope

In heaven, according to God’s designs, Mary began to watch over the Church, to help and protect us as a Mother does, so that after having been the cooperator of man’s redemption, she became also, by reason of the almost limitless power which was granted to her, the dispenser of the grace which flows from this Redemption to every age. (63)
     Leo XIII, pope 

Mary has gone before, becoming a model of the Church in the matter of faith, charity and perfect union with Christ.  She is a figure or model in reference to the intimate mystery of the Church, for it actuates and accomplishes its saving mission by uniting in itself-as Mary did-the qualities of mother and virgin.  The Church is a virgin who keeps whole and pure the fidelity she has pledged to her Spouse, and becomes itself a mother.  The Church brings forth to a new and immortal life children who are conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of God. (64)
          Blessed John Paul II, pope

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