Mary a ‘model of faith and charity’

Mary’s role in the Church is inseparable from her union with Christ and flows directly from it, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

The Second Vatican Council taught that this “union of the mother with the son in the work of salvation is made manifest from the time of Christ’s virginal conception up to his death”.

The Dogmatic Constitution on the Church states that after her son’s Ascension, Mary “aided the beginnings of the Church by her prayers”.

In her association with the apostles and several women, “we also see Mary by her prayers imploring the gift of the Spirit, who had already overshadowed her in the Annunciation,” Lumen Gentium says.

The Assumption of Mary was discussed by Pope Pius XII in his 1946 encyclical Deiparae Virginis Mariae and was subsequently declared a dogma by the same Pontiff the 1950 encyclical Munificentissimus Deus (The Most Bountiful God).

According to the Catechism, "the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things”.

The dogma of the Immaculate Conception states that the conception of Mary in her mother's womb was without any stain of original sin and from the first moment of her existence, she was preserved by God from the lack of sanctifying grace that afflicts mankind, and that she was instead filled with divine grace.

By her complete adherence to the Father's will, to his Son's redemptive work, and to every prompting of the Holy Spirit, the Virgin Mary is the Church's “model of faith and charity”.

However, her role in relation to the Church and to all humanity goes still further.

The Church's dogmatic constitution recognises that she “cooperated by her obedience, faith, hope, and burning charity in the Saviour's work of restoring supernatural life to souls”.

For this reason, the document states, she is a “mother to us in the order of grace”.

In his Apostolic Letter entitled Marialis Cultus, Pope Paul VI states that the Church's devotedness to the Virgin Mary “is an intrinsic element” of Christianity.

The now saint notes that we "cannot be Christians without being Marian".

The liturgical feasts dedicated to the Mother of God and Marian prayer, such as the rosary, an "epitome of the whole Gospel", express this devotion to the Virgin Mary, he said.

The Second Vatican Council notes that the Church rightly honours the Blessed Virgin with “special devotion".

The Catechism states that, after speaking of the Church, her origin, mission, and destiny, "we can find no better way to conclude than by looking to Mary".

"In her we contemplate what the Church already is in her mystery on her own 'pilgrimage of faith', and what she will be in the homeland at the end of her journey."

There, "the Church is awaited by the one she venerates as Mother of her Lord and as her own mother".