Is the Mother of God Our Mother?

April 09, 2022

The Blessed Virgin is the Mother of God. The question arises as to whether she is also our Mother. In the natural order, a mother brings forth a life, nourishes it, protects it, and raises it.

In the Gospels, Our Lord says to St. John: “Behold thy mother,” (Jn. 19:27). St. Augustine explains in The Holy Virginity VI, 2: “Mary is the only woman of whom one can say that she is the mother… of the members of Jesus Christ, and it is we who are these members. In fact, she cooperated through her charity, to birth in the Church the faithful who are the members of this Head.”

St. Pius X thoroughly developed this idea in his encyclical Ad diem illum: “For is not Mary the Mother of Christ? Then she is our Mother also…. Now the Blessed Virgin did not conceive the Eternal Son of God merely in order that He might be made man taking His human nature from her, but also in order that by means of the nature assumed from her He might be the Redeemer of men.”

“Wherefore in the same holy bosom of His most chaste Mother, Christ took to Himself flesh and united to Himself the spiritual body formed by those who were to believe in Him. Hence Mary, carrying the Savior within her, may be said to have also carried all those whose life was contained in the life of the Savior.”

“Therefore all we who are united to Christ, and as the Apostle says, are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones (Ep. 5:30), have issued from the womb of Mary like a body united to its head.”

“Hence, though in a spiritual and mystical fashion, we are all children of Mary, and she is Mother of us all. Mother, spiritually indeed, but truly Mother of the members of Christ, who we are.”

“If then the most Blessed Virgin is the Mother at once of God and men, who can doubt that she will work with all diligence to procure that Christ, Head of the Body of the Church (Col. 1:18), may transfuse the gift of His grace into us, His members, and above all that of knowing Him and living through Him (I Jn 4:9)?”

Theological explanation

Is the mother in the supernatural order the one who engenders the supernatural life, nourishes it, protects it, and raises it? Now Our Lady does all of that for the souls in the Church. Therefore, she is the mother of souls.

In the order of generation, the fiat is compared to the conception: as the Virgin conceived Christ first through an act of the will, so too her act of charity which wanted participation in the Redemption, is as a conception of souls.

The fiat concludes a marriage between the Word and humanity, the fruitfulness of which consists in the salvation of souls. The term is the adoption of men by God.  Finally, Christ conceived is the head of the Mystical Body, and St. Pius X concludes that the Virgin, Mother of Jesus Christ, is the Mother of His members.

The compassion of Our Lady is compared to childbirth by merit de congruo [from appropriateness], acquired at the foot of the Cross, from all the founding graces of the Church, from the conversion of souls, and the sacramental graces of baptism.

The Virgin merited the sacramental graces that provide nutrition, education, and protection of souls, which she also accomplishes through her intercession and through the example of her virtues. She has a special role in preparing souls for receiving the sacraments. Finally she distributes graces.

This maternity is exercised over all men, whether to make grow those who are members of the Church, or to bring in those who are not members, just as Christ is the head of all mankind.

Finally, “spiritual maternity is basically Marian mediation expressed in a striking analogy that shows it roots in the divine maternity.” The titles of spiritual mother of mankind, mediatrix and queen, include the same functions of the Virgin Mary, those of the coredemption, with different connotations:

--her maternity highlights a solicitude for the birth to grace and the spiritual progress of souls;
--her mediation helps to establish relations with God;
--her queenship show her irresistible and benevolent authority, her excellence and dignity, and her right to a special cult.