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Our Blessed Mother's yes to God at the Annunciation was far from a one-time pledge of obedience.
Her fidelity to the Almighty was prominently displayed at the Annunciation — but continues to this day. The continuously obedient Blessed Mother works unceasingly to bring souls to her Son.
Most Protestants appraise Mary's fiat during the Annunciation in truncated fashion. They give lip service at Christmas to her role in giving the world a Redeemer but, once the holiday has passed, they forget about her ongoing role in salvation.
They forget that being a mother is much more than simply conceiving a child. Motherhood may begin at conception but, as any mother can tell you, it doesn't end there.
My own mother never let me forget that truth. She suffered from cardiomyopathy for many years, and, though her heart eventually failed, she was "all heart" in her final days.
I stayed with her for the last month of her life and, although she couldn't leave her bed, she kept busy by praying for her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
She would say to me, "Paul, could you pray a Rosary with me?" She would also encourage me to pray for family members who'd fallen away from the Faith.
As a mother, my mom deeply understood Mary's dynamic and ongoing role. The unique work of Mary has been affirmed by many saints, popes and scholars under the title of Co-Redemptrix.
Many, including Pope Francis, seem to have a problem with the title of "Co-Redemptrix." But they are confused. It doesn't mean that Mary is the sole redeemer or that she has the inherent power to redeem on her own — which would make her on par with God.
A key passage from the Gospels that helps us understand her dynamic role is found in St. John's account, which states, "When Jesus saw His mother and the disciple there whom He loved, He said to His mother, 'Woman, behold, your son.' Then He said to the disciple, 'Behold your mother.' And, from that hour, the disciple took her into his home."
Mary's universal motherhood was formally extended with Jesus' statement from the Cross. Our Lord entrusted Mary to John — and vice versa. Our tradition has always understood the entrustment to Mary as applying to the whole Church.
In 2018, Pope Francis acknowledged the need to celebrate this unique maternity when he added a memorial to the calendar honoring Mary as the "Mother of the Church." It's a great consolation to know that Our Lord gifted His own mother to be ours.
Since my own mother is deceased, I take full advantage of Mary's love. I don't hesitate in bringing to her any concerns that I have. In years past, my mother had a way of knowing what was bothering me even before I spoke of it, and Mary fulfills the same role as a saintly counselor. No problem is too big or too small to bring to her during a Rosary.
One constant in these apparitions has been Mary's concern for her children — especially when she calls those who have fallen away, warns of what will befall souls persisting in sin and invites all to be in a relationship with her Son.
Mary's yes to God gave the world a Redeemer, but her fiat was far from being an isolated historical event.
Mary, Mother of God, pray for us now and at the hour of our death. Amen.