Mary Mother of the Church

(click to enlarge)
This is my favorite portrayal of Pentecost. The stylized picture shows Mary as Mother of the Church. Centrally located in the midst of the apostles, she receives the Holy Spirit with them and thus the Apostolic Church is founded with Mary at the heart of it.
Why is Mary the Mother of the Church? Because Mary is the Mother of Jesus Christ and the Church is the Body of Christ. Mary’s first ‘yes’ to the Holy Spirit paved the way for our ‘yes’ to the Holy Spirit. Because she was overshadowed and filled with the Holy Spirit and bore God’s Son, we too can be overshadowed and filled with the Holy Spirit and bear God’s Son to the world.
Mary as Spouse of the Holy Spirit is the fore runner of the nuptial relationship between Christ and his Church as taught by St Paul in Ephesians 5. Christ is the bridegroom. We are the bride. Similarly, the Holy Spirit was the bridegroom and Mary the bride in the spousal relationship that brought forth the Son of God into the World.
The nuptial relationship between Christ and his Church is active on both the individual and corporate levels. To Christ we are bride and he is bridegroom and the whole church is bride and he is bridegroom. Just as a marriage must be consummated and man and wife become one flesh, so in a sacramental way, Christ the bridegroom and the church his bride are to be united in a bond of everlasting love, and this love must be fruitful. The Church hears the command of God to Adam and Eve–the first bride and groom–to ‘be fruitful and multiply.’
So the relationship between Christ and his Church must also bear fruit. This is the root command, the power and the drive for the Church to evangelize. We are to ‘go and bear much fruit’. This fruit is the fruit of souls who are won for Christ through the nuptial and mystical union he shares with his body, his bride–the Church.
All of this is driven and enlivened and enabled by the gift of the Holy Spirit. Only the fire of love of the Holy Spirit allows this union between Christ and his Church to come to fulfillment and bear the rich fruit he commands.
Come Holy Spirit and renew the face of the earth.

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  • Patrick Kinsale

    Father, thank you. That is a powerful image of Pentecost. Perhaps you can answer a question … Who exactly was present at the descent of the Holy Spirit? I was always taught it was the apostles and Our Lady. One of the images in the Compendium of the Catechism seems to imply there were more people there. Was Mary Magdalene present? Women's ordination advocates often consider her an apostlette.

  • kkollwitz

    “Why is Mary the Mother of the Church? Because Mary is the Mother of Jesus Christ and the Church is the Body of Christ.”I’m gonna use this in my Rel Ed class.

  • Elizabeth

    My husband made up DVD’s with 10 images for each of the mysteries…it helps our children focus while we pray our family rosary. This is my FAVORITE image from the Third Glorious Mystery!I love the image of whoever it is on the right trying to get out of the room before “getting hit”! But yes, the central figure of the Blessed Mother says SO much without words. BTW my four year old asks every morning, “what mysteries is today?”And he knows quite a few of them already…not bad!

  • Arkanabar T’verrick Ilarsadin

    And before the Bride can be fruitful, she must become one flesh with her bridegroom — in the Eucharist.