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SERVE THE LORD WITH GLADNESS | Mary Mother of the Church receives and then brings forth the life of Christ

Mary can be our example to bring Jesus forth for others and in others

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

On May 20 — the day after Pentecost — we celebrate the feast of Mary, Mother of the Church. Speaking on this theme, St. Paul VI said: “Mary is indeed the Mother of Christ who, at the moment He assumed human nature in her virginal womb, joined to Himself, as Head, His Mystical Body, which is the Church. Mary, therefore, as Mother of Christ, must also be regarded as Mother of all the faithful and pastors alike, that is to say, of the Church.”

At the Annunciation, Mary said “yes.” The Holy Spirit overshadowed her, and the Word took flesh in her body. Then, at Pentecost, there she was again — teaching the apostles to say “yes” as the Holy Spirit fell upon them and Jesus’ life came to exist inside of them spiritually. It’s fitting that she who brought forth the physical body of Christ at Christmas would help to bring forth the Mystical Body of Christ — the Church — at Pentecost.

To go one step further, there’s a beautiful parallel between Mary, the Church and each of us: Each receives and then brings forth the life of Christ. Not in the same way, of course! Mary brought forth the physical body of Christ 2,000 years ago in Bethlehem. The Church is the mystical body of Christ from the day of Pentecost until the end times. The Church, in turn, brings forth the sacramental body of Christ in the Eucharist. Each of the baptized, united with Christ, becomes a sort of spiritual body of Christ. And Jesus tells us that the “least of these” — anyone in need — is another way that His body is present to us. These different senses of “the body of Christ” aren’t the same, but each reflects, reinforces and deepens our sense of the others.

After the feast day, we’ll be reading the Letter of James all week long, and James is always encouraging his readers to make the faith practical. So, if the above points are a great theological lesson, how can we make that lesson practical?

Let me suggest this. If you don’t ever say the Rosary, try to say it regularly. If you already say the Rosary, then try to pray it. If you already pray the Rosary, then try to enter into the life of Jesus through it. If you already enter the life of Jesus through the Rosary, then try to let Jesus enter into your life through it. If you already let Jesus enter your life, then try to let the Rosary inspire you to bring forth the life of Jesus for others and in others, as Mary did.

At the end of this week, we’ll enter Memorial Day weekend — the unofficial start of summer. What if we carried this Marian theme — both theological and practical — through the whole summer? Each of us could focus on becoming more like Mary: receiving the life of Christ into our souls and bodies, bringing forth the life of Christ for others and helping to bring forth the life of Christ in others. That would be a worthy way to celebrate the feast of Mary, Mother of the Church, and a worthy way to spend our summer.

From the Archive Module

SERVE THE LORD WITH GLADNESS Mary Mother of the Church receives and then brings forth the life of Christ 9617

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