Mother Mary, Mother Church and the Vocation of Motherhood

by Fr. Jeff Loseke

This month of May is dedicated in a special way to Mary, the Mother of God.  We recall how, on the Cross, Jesus entrusted Mary and the Beloved Disciple into each other’s care.  Madonna_with_child_and_angelsIn so doing, He gave all of His disciples into His Mother’s care and gave us Mary to be our Mother as well.  As the one chosen by the Father to give birth to His Only-Begotten Son, Mary serves as a resplendent example of motherhood to all who are her children as well as to all who share the noble vocation of motherhood.  Mary’s motherhood extends to us primarily because Jesus joined His disciples to Himself and made us members of His Body in the Church.  Mary, as the Mother of Jesus, is the mother also of His very Body, the Church.

Mary’s vocation as mother is also iconic of the motherhood of the Church.  As the most perfect disciple of Jesus, Mary reveals in her very person what the whole Church, comprised of many members, looks like.  The Church, being the Bride of Christ, gives birth to His offspring from the watery womb of the Baptismal Font.  Like Mary, the Church’s vocation in the world is maternal: Mary gave birth to Jesus in history; the Church gives birth to the Body of Christ in the present.  This is why the Church is referred to with a feminine pronoun (e.g., “she”, “her”, etc.) and oftentimes is called “Mother Church”.  Like all mothers, the Church gives birth to her children and nourishes them at her breast.  She teaches them and shares her wisdom with them.  She nurtures them and heals them with a gentle laying on of hands when they are hurt.  Sometimes she even needs to discipline them for their own good.  In every way, the Church is our spiritual mother.

Each and every mother for her part also shares in this iconic vocation.  Just as it is the ordained Priest’s vocation to give a physical face to Jesus Christ in the world today, so also it belongs in a special way to mothers to give a physical face to the Church.  Their motherhood stems from and points to the God who created them and who established His Church to communicate the new life of grace to all believers.  No longer is Eve the model of motherhood—the life she gave ended in death.  The Church, represented in the person of Mary, is the New Eve who gives a life that never dies.  May God bless all our mothers and grandmothers who reveal to us what it means to be alive in Christ Jesus our Lord!

 

The Reverend Jeffery S. Loseke is a Priest of the Archdiocese of Omaha and is currently the pastor of  St. Charlccn_father-les Borromeo Parish in Gretna, Nebraska.  Ordained in 2000, Fr. Loseke holds a Licentiate in Sacred Theology (S.T.L.) from the Pontifical Athenaeum of St. Anselm in Rome and is working to complete his doctoral degree (Ed.D.) in interdisciplinary leadership through Creighton University in Omaha.  In addition to parish ministry, Fr. Loseke has served as a chaplain in the U.S. Air Force, taught high school theology and college-level philosophy, and has been a presenter for various missions, retreats, and diocesan formation days across the country.

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