The Mother Of Christ by Father Vassall-Phillips Part 23


Gaude, turba fidelium, 
mentis colens martyrium, 
cius, quae dedit Filium 
in mortem pro miseris. . . . 
Datur Mater Discipulo 
cum maximo mysterio; 
Joannis sub vocabulo 
quivis venit Fidelis.

    Ex Hymnis Latinis Mediae AElatis. (Gall. Morel., n. 152. 73)

OUR BLESSED LADY is the Mother of the Word made Flesh—His Mother in the physical order that has been established by God. As we read in the Holy Gospel, she is the Mother of Jesus. In the spiritual order she is the mother, not of our Lord (to whom solely she herself owes her being and all that she possesses), but of Christians—and this, not figuratively, but actually by a veritable maternity.

This is true, in the first place because Christians are the brothers and sisters of Christ her Son. All men are the children of God by nature, for all men are the work of His Hands, fashioned by His Power and Wisdom. Christians are also the children of God by grace. " But when the fulness of time was come, God sent His Son, made of a Woman, made under the Law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because you are sons, God hath sent the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying Abba, Father." (Gal. iv. 4, 6.) We have received the adoption of sons of God through Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten Son of God, who was " made of a Woman" in the Human Nature which He deigned to receive from the Mother of whom He was " made." As Man, He was enabled to become the true Brother of all who believe in His Name. " Go and tell My Brethren," are our Lord's own words spoken of His Disciples. (Matt, xxviii. 10.) He who is Mary's Son—as truly Mary's Son as He is the Son of God—calls us His Brethren. Sunus quod nominamur. We are that which we are called by God. We are His Brethren. Therefore it follows strictly that His Father is our Father, and that His Mother is our mother too. Having received the adoption of sons, we can cry Abba, Father. We poor sinners may venture to look up to Heaven and call the great God, our Father. When thus we dare to pray to " Our Father who art in Heaven," not only are we " strengthened by His precept," for He has commanded us thus to pray, but we also " fashion ourselves on His example "—the example of our Brother. 1 As our Brother prayed to His Father, so should we pray to our Father. This is the meaning of Brotherhood—our Brother's Father is our Father too. By a parity of reasoning our Brother's Mother is also our mother. Otherwise, all falls to the ground. We are not truly His brethren, unless His Mother be our mother, even as His Father is our Father. For Christians, the Motherhood of Mary depends upon the same great principle as the Fatherhood of God. If any man will deny that Mary is the Mother of Christians, he must deny also either that Mary is truly the Mother of Christ, or that Christians are truly Christ's Brethren. If in truth Christ is our Brother, and if in truth Mary is His Mother, then the Mother of our Brother is our mother, given to us, as she was given to our Divine Brother, by His and our Feather in Heaven, to bestow upon us, as of old she bestowed upon Him, a mother's love, a mother's care. This is a wonderful thought. The more we ponder it, the more wonderful, but also the more clear it becomes. Our Lord by His Brotherhood has given us a share in His Divine Sonship.

1 The Priest at Mass, before the Paler Noster, is directed thus to use these words : " Praeceptis salutaribus moniti et divina institutione formati audemus dicere : Pater Noster."