Yesterday was Pentecost Sunday – the day we celebrate the Holy Spirit descending upon Mary and the Apostles. This day also commemorates the birth of the Catholic Church. It’s a joyful time of the year when we rekindle the fire of the Holy Spirit in our hearts as He came upon the Apostles and Mary 2,000 years ago. As the Mother of the Church, Mary plays an important role in the life of the Early Church as well as the Church today.
Her intercession and mediation as the Queen Mother is beneficial for the Church and world since she aids us in our friendship with Jesus Christ. Without her motherly mediation, our relationship with Jesus Christ may not be as strong. We see Mary as the Church since the Church is our Mother and Mary is our Mother. The two are synthesized as one to bring us closer to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Along with the Holy Spirit, Mary’s role in the salvation history is fundamental for our redemption.
In his book, Immaculate Conception and the Holy Spirit, Fr. H.M. Manteau-Bonamy, OP, explains the importance of Mary as the Church. The aforementioned book is a text based on the Marian teachings of the great saint – Maximilian Kolbe. St. Maximilian Kolbe is famous for being martyred in a concentration camp under the Nazi Regime. He is also the founder of the Militia Immaculata.
In Chapter Six – The Immaculata and the Church, Fr. Manteau-Bonamy says, “Mary is already the Church on Pentecost, when after having prayed along with the Apostles, “calling down by her prayers also the gift of the Spirit who, in the Annunciation had already overshadowed her” (Lumen Gentium, n. 59) [Emphasis mine], she became “the Mother of the Shepherds and of the faithful, in a word, Mother of the entire Church” (Paul VI, November 21, 1964). Almost a quarter century before this pronouncement made during Vatican II, Father Kolbe had said:
Whoever does not wish to have Mary Immaculate as his Mother will not have Christ as his Brother either; the Father will not send his Son to him; the Son will not descend into his soul; the Holy Spirit will not make him a member of the mystical body of Christ; for all these mysteries of grace take place in Mary full of grace, and in her alone. No other creature is or will ever be immaculate like her, or full of grace, or capable of being so intimately united to the Lord as was the Immaculate Virgin. And since the first-born Son, the Man-God, was conceived only through the specific consent of the Most Blessed Virgin, the same holds true of all other humans, who must imitate in all things their primary model, Christ. (Sketch, 1940)”
During this week of Pentecost, let us strengthen our relationship with the Blessed Mother so our friendship with Jesus Christ can stand against the sin we encounter each day of our lives. Let us ask for Mary’s intercession to guide us and help us know Jesus better each day. Let us pray that the fire of Pentecost can enkindle our hearts so that we renew the face of the Earth and share the love of Christ and fire of the Holy Spirit with whomever we encounter.