By: Sister Laetitia Therese, O.C.D.
The Monday after Pentecost, the Church celebrates the memorial of Mary, Mother of the Church. Instituted by Pope Francis in 2019, it seems very fitting for our times. The state of affairs in our world, our country, our Church, our families, and our own hearts can be very discouraging and bid us look for signs of hope. We are in great need of motherly care and we find it in Mary, Mother of the Church.
We celebrate Pentecost, the birthday of the Church when the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles and transformed them into courageous witnesses to the Gospel, the Good News that mankind is not lost. God has entered into suffering humanity and taking it upon Himself has brought the good of our salvation out of the evil of His death on the cross. Sin and death no longer have the final word. By God’s design, Mary is central to His plan of salvation. By her humble assent to His invitation, she became the Mother of His Son. But, He would not keep her to Himself, and so at the foot of the cross, by His invitation, she became the Mother of all His disciples. She took her mission to heart. In the entrance antiphon of Mass for this feast of Mary, Mother of the Church, we are reminded that following our Lord’s Ascension, she gathered with the other disciples in prayer, beseeching Heaven for the gift of the Holy Spirit. By God’s design, Mary is crucial to the birth and growth of the Church. As she supported the first disciples with her presence and prayers, so now she supports us in the same way.
We are also reminded of Mary’s motherly intercession and her compassion in the Gospels. At Cana, she saw a need and helped to facilitate our Lord’s first public manifestation of His divinity. Our Mother Mary sees and knows our needs. She will not cease to entreat the Lord for every essential grace for us. We also find Mary receiving her mission as Mother of all the disciples at the foot of the cross. We can be assured that as our Mother, Mary has true compassion for us. She is not standing idly by watching us suffer – she is in the “trenches” with us. As her heart was united to that of her Son on the cross, so her heart is united to each of us in our sufferings. Her heart aches with our pain, and she gives us the courage and strength to follow after our Lord, carrying our cross, trusting that He will bring good out of everything. With Mary, we can continue to walk in faith and keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us!