The Mother Of Christ by Father Vassall-Phillips Part 28.

But it is possible to glean in the field of the Holy Scriptures ears of corn that have escaped the hands of the Fathers, and, provided our gleanings be in accordance with the Analogy of the Faith and the Mind of the Church, we do well thus to glean. The Holy Fathers often insisted themselves that there were many mystical, but true, meanings yet to be discovered by patient search beneath the letter of Divine Scripture.

From the tone of their writings we may gather that they would have welcomed the more extended interpretation of our Lord's Words, had it occurred to them, as it was in fact welcomed by Catholics so soon as it was suggested. Since the Middle Ages it has become the common interpretation and was taught, amongst many others, by St. Antoninus,  St. Thomas of Villanova, and St. Bernadine of Siena. 4 Later on it has been preached by St. Francis de Sales, St. Alphonsus, and St. Leonard of Port Maurice, and defended by such theologians as Pesch, Hurter, and Billot. It has also been proclaimed in Encyclicals by Popes Benedict XIV, (Bulla Gloriosae Dominae.) Pius VIII, (Bulla Praestantissimum.) and Leo XIII, who thus expresses the teaching that is now familiar to all Catholics : " In John, Christ designated the human race, especially those who had joined themselves to Him by Faith." (Encycl., September 5, 1895.)

We believe, then, that we are the children of Mary, because we are the brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ, because we are the Members of His Body, and because we are His disciples and listen to our Master's Voice. In believing that the Mother of our Lord is, in a real sense, our spiritual mother, God's Church assures us that we do not deceive our souls, since the Church encourages all her children to call themselves also the children of the Mother of God, to love her with filial love, and expect from her a mother's offices. The Motherhood of Mary is two fold. She is the Mother of God All-Holy. She is also the mother of sinful men. She is the Mother of the Redeemer. She is also the mother of the redeemed.

God is wont to deal with His rational creatures, both in the natural and in the supernatural order, by means of secondary causes. We are members, one of another and are continually reminded that we depend one upon another in the most intimate relations of life. These relations have been established from above, and woe betide any man who is foolish enough to endeavour to put them on one side. Amongst these various human relations none is closer in its bond, none more evidently coming from the Divine Will, than is that existing between a mother and her child. Men may marvel at a woman's maternal love ; they can hardly hope to gauge its mystery. We are content to know that the Creator, who has given to all His creatures an instinctive love of offspring, leading even the wildest of beasts to guard and providently care for her young, has implanted in the heart of the human mother a love that reaches to the needs of her children both in soul and body. A mother's love is perhaps not the strongest, but it is undoubtedly the most gentle, the most tender, the most compassionate affection known upon our earth. Now, when God determined, in His wondrous Love for men, that His Son should enter into their life, He was to share the close human relationships which are common to us all. In the deepest sense He must stand alone, as every man must needs be alone in the mysterious depths of his spirit; yet for thirty years He was to have a home, friends, disciples, a native land. Beyond all, a Mother was chosen to minister to His needs. That Mother's heart was so fashioned by God, that, from its fountains, her Divine Son should receive all the wealth of affection which it was fitting that He should receive, at least from one creature—the creature of His predilection. The relation of mother and son, always sacred, reaches its apogee in the highest perfection that can be conceived when Mary is the Mother and Jesus is the Son. The love of a mother is unlike all other love, and the crown of the love of mothers is the love of Mary the Mother of Jesus.

Mary is blessed amongst all women. Of all women she is the tenderest, the most understanding, the gentlest, the most full of sympathy and compassion, the most exquisitely womanly—this primarily for the sake of her Son. When she smiled upon Him at Bethlehem, the Heavens, rapt in wonder, gazed upon a perfect Mother's smile ; when she clasped her Child to her heart at Nazareth, it was the embrace of the Angels' Queen, giving their Lord a love denied to the capacity of angelic nature ; when she stood beneath His Cross on Calvary, by her side knelt the Magdalen who loved our Lord most dearly—yet the love of Mary of Magdala could be only as water is to wine, when measured by the love of Mary His Mother.