Q: Could you tell me Mary's attitude toward life?

A: On March 25, 1995, Pope John Paul II published a letter entitled: The Gospel of Life [Evangelium Vitae]. This work is a testimony to life in every form. At the conclusion of the document, the pope reflects on Mary, the woman who carried the God of Life in her womb for nine months. The following is a brief quote from the letter:

102. At the end of this Encyclical, we naturally look again to the Lord Jesus, "the Child born for us" (cf. Is 9:6), that in him we may contemplate "the Life" which "was made manifest." (1 Jn 1:2) ...

The one who accepted "Life" in the name of all and for the sake of all was Mary, the Virgin Mother; she is thus most closely and personally associated with the Gospel of life. Mary's consent at the Annunciation and her motherhood stand at the very beginning of the mystery of life which Christ came to bestow on humanity (cf. Jn 10:10). Through her acceptance and loving care for the life of the Incarnate Word, human life has been rescued from condemnation to final and eternal death.

For this reason, Mary, "like the Church of which she is the type, is a mother of all who are reborn to life. She is in fact the mother of the Life by which everyone lives, and when she brought forth from herself; she in some way brought to rebirth all those who were to live by that Life." [Blessed Guerric of Igny, In Assumptione B. Mariae, Sermo I, 2: PL 185,188]

As the Church contemplates Mary's motherhood, she discovers the meaning of her own motherhood and the way in which she is called to express it. At the same time, the Church's experience of motherhood leads to a most profound understanding of Mary's experience as the incomparable model of how life should be welcomed and cared for.

105. The angel's Annunciation to Mary is framed by these reassuring words: "Do not be afraid, Mary" and "with God nothing will be impossible." (Lk 1:30, 37) The whole of the Virgin Mother's life is in fact pervaded by the certainty that God is near to her and that he accompanies her with his providential care. The same is true of the Church, which finds "a place prepared by God" (Rev 12:6) in the desert, the place of trial but also of the manifestation of God's love for his people (cf. Hos 2:16). Mary is a living word of comfort for the Church in her struggle against death. Showing us the Son, the Church assures us that in him the forces of death have already been defeated: "Death with life contended: combat strangely ended! Life's own Champion, slain, yet lives to reign." [Roman Missal, Sequence for Easter Sunday]

The Lamb who was slain is alive, bearing the marks of his passion in the splendor of the resurrection. He alone is master of all the events of history: he opens its "seals" (cf. Rev 5:1-10) and proclaims, in time and beyond, the power of life over death. In the "new Jerusalem," that new world towards which human history is traveling, "death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away." (Rev 21:4)

And as we, the pilgrim people, the people of life and for life, make our way in confidence towards "a new heaven and a new earth (Rev 21:1), we look to her who is for us "a sign of sure hope and solace." [Lumen Gentium 68]


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