Pope Francis instituted a new liturgical Memorial feast, celebrated on the Monday after Pentecost, in honor of Mary “Mother of the Church.” The purpose of this new feast? Robert Cardinal Sarah:
This celebration will help us to remember that growth in the Christian life must be anchored to the Mystery of the Cross, to the oblation of Christ in the Eucharistic Banquet and to the Mother of the Redeemer and Mother of the Redeemed, the Virgin who makes her offering to God.
This feast will help us discover in Mary the sweetest fruit of the Paschal Mystery, the Woman who became all-Fire because she was all-Yes to God. From the Annunciation to the Cross to Pentecost, she is the perfect realization of free human cooperation in God’s saving plan made known in Christ. Her immaculate reception of the Pentecostal detonation of the new creation in Jerusalem (Acts 1:13-15) permitted the radiant Light, blazing out of the empty tomb of the risen Jesus, uninhibited access into the heart of the world.
At Pentecost the same Spirit who first overshadowed Mary to enflesh God, now came to complete the Incarnation by inviting all of humanity to become the Body of Christ and allow Christ to come to “full stature” (Eph. 4:13). You might say that the whole of creation was, in nuce, wholly re-created by God in, with and through Mary’s human and maternal flesh, from whom God took His own flesh. In Mary, from her Immaculate Conception to her glorious Assumption, the whole Body of Christ was mystically present in its perfection.
And then there’s this. Mary is a laywoman made perfect in grace. She who is “tainted nature’s solitary boast,” she who is “more honorable that the Cherubim and more glorious than the Seraphim,” stands among the lay faithful, giving magnified voice to their thanksgiving, praise to the God who lifts up the lowly.
As New Eve, in consecrating the whole world to God by co-offering herself with her Son’s priestly and eucharistic sacrifice, Mary becomes the supreme icon of the lay vocation in the world. As a wife and mother at home with her husband and child in Nazareth; as a refugee in flight into Egypt; as guest celebrating at the wedding feast at Cana; as a widow standing at the foot of Golgotha along a public street outside the walls of the Temple in Jerusalem; as a woman at prayer in an upstairs apartment in Jerusalem on the feast Pentecost — Mary casts out into the world, far and wide, the graced seeds of the Kingdom.
It’s why we consecrate ourselves, nations and the world to her heart. Her heart is consecrated earth. Indeed, it is through the human heart that God empties out His Spirit to renew the face of the earth and make it again into His Garden (John 19:30-42). Consecrating ourselves to her is like jumping on an already racing meteor hurling headlong toward the Kingdom of God.
Christ the New Adam makes “all things new” precisely by joining Mary, the New Eve, to Him, so together they — in a world of violence, tyranny, hate, apathy — can walk the via dolorosa and bring all things — even death itself — under the unconquerable dominion of self-wasting, life-giving, sacrificial love.