The Blessed Virgin Mary’s role is Mother. She is the Mother of God and the Mother of the Church. She is our Mother. She is my Mother. What does this mean?
A Mother first of all gives birth to her child. The Blessed Virgin Mary gives “birth” to our soul at the baptismal font, at our Baptism. As the Mediatrix of all graces (we will discuss this further on), Our Blessed Mother obtained for me the grace of Baptism. At my Baptism, original sin was removed from me, though not its effects in my soul, and God came to dwell in my soul.
A Mother nurtures Her child. How does Our Blessed Mother nurture us? Venerable Frank Duff, the founder of the Legion of Mary, said that the Blessed Virgin Mary was detained on earth (after the death of Her Son Jesus) to “nurse” the infant Church. How did She “nurse” the Church? How does She “nurse” me? By a continuous infusion of the Holy Spirit into my soul. Mary drew down the Holy Spirit upon the newborn Church—the Apostles and disciples gathered in prayer with Her in the Upper Room on the day of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit rushed down like a mighty wind and transformed fearful men into courageous men who would evangelize the world. He spoke through them to move hearts to conversion and performed miracles through them. They performed wondrous works by the power of the Holy Spirit.
A Mother teaches her children. How does Mary teach us? Pope Saint John Paul II says that the Blessed Virgin Mary teaches by bestowing upon us in abundance the gifts of the Holy Spirit. This is especially the case when we pray Her Rosary.
A Mother raises her child. How does Our Blessed Mother raise us? In Luke 2:52 we read that Jesus grew in wisdom and grace in His home at Nazareth with His Mother Mary and St. Joseph, His father in every sense but by generation. In the presence of Our Blessed Mother, we too grow in wisdom and grace by the graces She obtains for us, especially the ongoing gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, Blessed Columba Marmion says, is infinite, thus we can always receive Him more. Wisdom is the greatest of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. As we read in the Letter of James: “Wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good gifts, without uncertainty or insincerity.” (James 3:17-18) A mother also raises a child by helping him to do what is right in God’s eyes. Of course Jesus is God so He never sinned, but we do, every day. Our Blessed Mother Mary helps us to know our sins and faults and helps us to correct them, not only by bringing them to our attention, but by the graces She obtains for us to overcome them. She brings us to Her Son Jesus in the Sacrament of Confession so that we can confess them, and receive His forgiveness, and the words of absolution, which He speaks through the priest once he has heard our confession. Jesus said to St. Faustina: “When you approach the confessional, know this, that I Myself am waiting there for you. I am only hidden by the priest, but I myself act in your soul. Here the misery of the soul meets the God of mercy. Tell souls that from this fount of mercy souls draw graces solely with the vessel of trust.”
A Mother helps her child to know his vocation in life, whether it is to marriage, to be single, or to the consecrated life—the priesthood, religious life or lay consecrated life. The Blessed Virgin Mary gives us light to know our vocation in life, and the graces we need to say yes to it, and to be faithful to it.
A Mother teaches her child Christian virtues. Our Blessed Mother gives us all the graces we need to practice the virtues faithfully and bestows upon us in abundance the gifts of the Holy Spirit (as Pope Saint John Paul II said), which perfect the virtues.
Wisdom perfects charity (love)
Understanding perfects faith
Knowledge perfects faith
Counsel perfects prudence
Fortitude perfects fortitude
Piety perfects justice
Fear of the Lord perfects hope and temperance
A Mother strives to draw her child closer to God. Mary brings us to union with God. The closer we draw to Her and unite ourselves to Her through our consecration to Her, the more the Holy Spirit, Who is the Sanctifier (Who makes us holy), is drawn upon us. St. Louis de Montfort says that when the Holy Spirit finds Mary in a soul He flies there and enters fully. Union with God is effected by the Holy Spirit, by divine love. God is love, the Trinity—Father, Son and Holy Spirit is love—but it is especially to the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Most Holy Trinity that we attribute the words divine love. Mary is the Spouse of the Holy Spirit, of Divine Love. She gives Him to us. As the little doctor of the Church St. Therese of Lisieux says: “the treasure of a mother belongs to her child, and I am Your child my dear Mother. Are not then your virtues and love mine too?”
It is often the case that we outlive our earthly mothers, but if we were to die first, how our Mother would long to bring us to Heaven, which is the goal of our life on earth. Heaven is God’s dwelling place, and as Elizabeth of the Trinity said, Heaven is God. “It seems to me that I have found my Heaven on earth since Heaven is God and God is in my soul.” Our Blessed Mother brings us to Heaven by obtaining for us the graces we need to die in the state of grace, to receive the Sacraments of the Anointing of the sick, Confession and Holy Communion, as well as the Apostolic Pardon on our deathbed. The Apostolic Pardon is a plenary indulgence given by a priest (only a priest can give it) to the dying which takes away the temporal punishment due for sin so that one can go straight to Heaven upon dying.
Our Blessed Mother obtains for us the graces to reach the highest degree of love God will for us here on earth, the highest degree of holiness He wills for us, so that we can get to the place in Heaven He has prepared for us from all eternity. St. Maximilan Kolbe says that without Mary we will not reach the degree of holiness God calls us to.
Mary is the Mediatrix of all graces. Simply put, Jesus is the source of all graces and Jesus comes to us through Mary, thus Mary is the Mediatrix of all graces. All the graces God has in store for us come through Mary as we see in the writings of some Popes, St. Louis de Montfort and St. Maximilian Kolbe.
Take Mary as your Mother. She does not force Herself upon you as your Mother as one priest said. We have free will—to choose Her or not. God gave us free will, He respects our free will and so of course does Our Blessed Mother Mary. Take Her as your Mother and consecrate yourselves to Her. Live that consecration, deepen that consecration and ask St. Joseph to help you to perfect that consecration to Mary. Cardinal Herbert Vaughan, while as yet Bishop of Salford, said: “He [St. Joseph] will therefore help us to perfect our consecration to Mary.”