By Fr. Christopher Foeckler, MJ •  St. Josaphat Formation Center • Phoenix, AZ

On the Solemnity of Mary’s Assumption we hear from the Book of Revelation: “A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.” (Rev 12:1)

This is not the first time Mary is called ‘woman.’ It is mentioned only two other times in the Gospels and both times in the gospel by the author of Revelation. First at Cana in Galilee when Mary told Jesus of the newlyweds’ lack of wine, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” The second was from the Cross, “He said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son.’”

Mary’s title of ‘woman,’ given by our Lord Himself, is a clear indication of the unique and supremely special role that Mary plays in the work of Redemption. While Jesus is the New Adam restoring mankind to its dignity as friends and even children of God, Mary is the New Eve. Like the ‘woman’ of Genesis, Mary is the new mother of all mankind. This is confirmed by Our Lord who solemnly from the Cross said to ‘the beloved disciple,’ “Behold your mother.”

The Vatican Council Fathers tell us, “This maternity of Mary in the order of grace began with the consent which she gave in faith at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the Cross, and lasts until the eternal fulfillment of all the elect. Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this salvific duty, but by her constant intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation.” (Lumen Gentium,no.62)

Herein is the basis of our great confidence in involving Mary actively in the work of our conversion and sanctification by means of our total consecration to Jesus. Rene Laurentin explains, “The fact is that Mary’s role, as God established it, is essential to consecration… For this, the most consecrated woman of our race, was the one who gave humanity to the Son of God; and it was in that humanity that Jesus both consecrated himself and consecrates us.” Mary’s role is not that of God who consecrates but a role that God assigned to her, as Laurentin says. Her role is to both pray for us and persuade us, as a good mother does, to listen and be disposed to receive the gifts that God wants to give us. This she continues in Heaven, clothed with the sun and crowned with the stars.

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