Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Church is our Mother: in & through her the Lord interprets what refers to Him in all the Scriptures and gives Himself in the "Breaking of Bread"

Happy Mother’s Day to everyone. Why everyone? We wouldn’t be here without our mothers. And in particular of course we wish a beautiful day of love and happiness to all of our mothers as they rejoice in the gift of being called to cooperate with God in giving the beautiful gift of life to their children. And they have done so also with a little help from our fathers, too.

Why is the vocation of motherhood beautiful? And why is it appropriate that we take a day apart to celebrate and thank our mothers? This is because the gift of life is God’s most beautiful gift to each one of us and mothers have a unique role in God’s plan for life. Apart from Christ who went to the grave, giving Himself completely for our salvation, no one hands their bodies and lives over for the sake of another as our mothers are called to do. Some even risk their lives to give life and some, tragically, also lose their own lives for the sake of a child being born. We think of Saint Gianna Beretta Molla who said “yes” to life to a heroic degree, dying in the act of childbirth because she refused to treat the life of her child as less sacred than her own, rejecting the moral evil of abortion as suggested by some doctors because the child she carried in her womb posed a risk to her own life.

Yes, life is sacred. Every human life. No exceptions. And mothers are beautiful cooperators in God’s plan that life should go on. The Church is called a mother also. Why is this? The gift of natural life that comes into the world through the holy cooperation of mothers and fathers is meant to share also in the supernatural life of God. Life is so wonderful that it should never end.

Mothers and fathers are the first and most important teachers by word and example of the faith in the home daily as well as by faithfully attending the Sunday Eucharist. "The Christian home is the place where children receive the first proclamation of the faith. For this reason the family home is rightly called 'the domestic church,' a community of grace and prayer, a school of human virtues and of Christian charity." (CCC 1666)

Salvation comes from God alone; but because we receive the life of faith through the Church, she is our mother: "We believe the Church as the mother of our new birth, and not in the Church as if she were the author of our salvation." Because she is our mother, she is also our teacher in the faith.” (CCC 169)

Our Lord founded the Church so that He could continue to give His own life, through His Cross and Resurrection, until the end of the world. The sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist flow from Christ to us through the Church, bride and mother, coming still from His wounded side as He died upon the Cross to give us the unending gift of His Resurrection.

The Church is the Bride of Christ: he loved her and handed himself over for her. He has purified her by his blood and made her the fruitful mother of all God's children.” (CCC 808)

Mary, the mother of the Lord is the mother of each one of us in the Church also, given to us by our Lord as a final gift before He died. We look to her example, receiving the gift of faith and life from the Lord Jesus as she died, with humility, gratitude and joy.

Mary's role in the Church is inseparable from her union with Christ and flows directly from it. ‘This union of the mother with the Son in the work of salvation is made manifest from the time of Christ's virginal conception up to his death’; it is made manifest above all at the hour of his Passion:

‘Thus the Blessed Virgin advanced in her pilgrimage of faith, and faithfully persevered in her union with her Son unto the cross. There she stood, in keeping with the divine plan, enduring with her only begotten Son the intensity of his suffering, joining herself with his sacrifice in her mother's heart, and lovingly consenting to the immolation of this victim, born of her: to be given, by the same Christ Jesus dying on the cross, as a mother to his disciple, with these words: ‘Woman, behold your son.’ “ (CCC 964)

We rightly, therefore, also celebrate the motherhood of Mary, mother of Christ and mother of the Church on this day.

Mary is the perfect Orans (pray-er), a figure of the Church. When we pray to her, we are adhering with her to the plan of the Father, who sends his Son to save all men. Like the beloved disciple we welcome Jesus' mother into our homes, for she has become the mother of all the living. We can pray with and to her. The prayer of the Church is sustained by the prayer of Mary and united with it in hope.” (CCC 2679)

In and through the Church Christ speaks and acts again today, giving the Holy Spirit to interpret once again for us all that refers to Him in the Scriptures and making Him present on our altar at holy Mass; it is Christ the Lord who again gives thanks, "breaking of the bread" of His Body for us. The Church is our mother, in her we grow into a mature Christian Faith.

"It is in the Church, in communion with all the baptized, that the Christian fulfills his vocation. From the Church he receives the Word of God containing the teachings of 'the law of Christ." From the Church he receives the grace of the sacraments that sustains him on the "way." From the Church he learns the example of holiness and recognizes its model and source in the all-holy Virgin Mary; he discerns it in the authentic witness of those who live it; he discovers it in the spiritual tradition and long history of the saints who have gone before him and whom the liturgy celebrates in the rhythms of the sanctoral cycle." (CCC 2030)

No comments: