According to Vatican News, the Pope devoted his first homily on the new memorial of Mary, Mother of the Church to explaining the motherliness of Mary and how this same quality must be evident in the Church.
“The Church is feminine, because it is ‘church’ and ‘bride’: it is feminine," the pope said. "And she is mother; she gives life. Bride and Mother. And the Fathers go further and say that even your soul is the bride of Christ and mother. And it is with this attitude that comes from Mary, who is Mother of the Church, with this attitude we can understand this feminine dimension of the Church, which, when it is not there, the Church loses its identity and becomes a charitable organization or a football team, or whatever, but not the Church.”
He went on to say that only a feminine Church can have the fruitful attitudes God intended, the same God who chose “to be born of a woman in order to teach us the path of woman.”
This attitude of a bride and mother must be maintained. “When we forget this, it is a masculine Church. Without this dimension, it sadly becomes a church of old bachelors, who live in this isolation, incapable of love, incapable of fecundity. Without the woman, the Church does not advance—because she is a woman. And this attitude of woman comes from Mary, because Jesus willed it so.”
The virtue that primarily distinguishes a woman is tenderness, the pope continued. Just like Mary who tenderly cared for her Son, she did so with the great virtues of motherhood - meekness and humility.
“A Church that is a mother goes along the path of tenderness. It knows the language of such wisdom of caresses, of silence, of the gaze that knows compassion, that knows silent. It is, too, a soul, a person who lives out this way of being a member of the Church, knowing that he or she is [like] a mother [and] must go along the same path: a person [who is] gentle, tender, smiling, full of love.”
As we reported in March, this memorial was instituted by the Pope with the hope of sparking growth in Marian devotion.
After announcing the decree establishing the memorial, Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, explained that: “Having attentively considered how greatly the promotion of this devotion might encourage the growth of the maternal sense of the Church in the pastors, religious and faithful, as well as a growth of genuine Marian piety, Pope Francis has decreed that the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, should be inscribed in the Roman Calendar on the Monday after Pentecost and be now celebrated every year.”
Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us!
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