We refer to Our Lady within the Catholic Church as Our Mother and for good reason. We have a symbol that is often used for her called the Alma Mater, or “Dear Mother.” What a wonderful way to acknowledge her as the Mother of our souls within the Church.
As I reflect this feast day of Mary’s Assumption into Heaven, I think of her fiat to the angel at the Annunciation: “be it done to me according to thy word.” It was not simply a yes for the love of God, in His Holy Spirit, to come upon her and form within her womb the God-man Jesus Christ. It was a forever yes to His will and His word.
After losing my own mother nearly 2 years ago, I often reflect that the mother of my soul is the Church which Mary is the apt metaphor and description. And metaphor is not even the right word; for she is very much the Church. She is the Virgin Mother, yes, but she is generous beyond an earthly mother, having given birth to every soul that crossed the threshold into the Church. We are more than adopted children of God, we are actual children with the same Mother that bore Christ: pure, ever-virgin, spiritual mother of our souls which she guards and treasures within her immaculate womb.
When Christ gave His mother to John and John to be His Mother’s son, it was the first brother of Christ being born in this world to the Church which is the birthing place of Christ Himself. After, John, then the apostles, the disciples and all their followers; each being born of the love of the Holy Spirit and the Motherly love of Mary, the Mother of God.
So we should address Our Mother as Alma Mater as if we were writing to our physical birth mother. She is a Mother to each of us as truly as our birth mother was to our physical being. She is not barren. She is the most fruitful of all women. She did not only have one child. She has given her fiat to God forever and he is a very productive Father. Our debt of gratitude can never be paid her for her generosity and her constant care for each individual soul.
As we saw in the readings from the book of Revelations today, the dragon or Satan and His minions, awaited to devour Christ as He was born but she hid in the desert and delivered Christ to the world and to the Church. In a similar way, Satan also wants to devour all her children in the Church but we too will be protected by our Heavenly Mother and live to rejoice with Her and Her firstborn son, Our Lord Jesus Christ as long as we seek her protection.
Is there any wonder why the Church has used her as the model of the Church? She aborts no child; she does not ‘contracept’ or block the power of the Holy Spirit to move souls to be born in the waters of Baptism. She is the perfect Mother whose only choice was to do God’s will. If Christ honored and obeyed His mother, how can we do anything less? Our Alma Mater reveals to us the only advice in this world that we need to know for our eternal salvation. “Whatsoever he shall say to you, do ye.”