In the Apostles’ Creed we profess faith in the Communion of Saints. This means we are united with all who follow the Way of Life and form the Kingdom of God, and we pray together as the mystical body of Christ with Jesus as the center and head of this Kingdom. The first citizen was his mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, so she is also the Mother of the Church. Mary is the one perfect member of the Body of Christ, every element in the life of the Body is seen at its most intense in her.
Mary is the Mother of Sorrows. Her cry in anguish, “My Son, why hast though treated us so?” when the boy Jesus stayed behind in the Temple for three days mirrors Christ’s cry from the cross, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Luke 2:48, Matthew 27:46) In the natural order Jesus was like Mary, as her son, but in the supernatural order, the Blessed Virgin was like the Son. He was sinless and she was sinless. We think of her as the Mother of Sorrows. During her son’s life on earth she knew sorrow and grief in the flight from Herod, the knowledge of other children murdered, and Christ’s death on the cross – they suffered together.
God’s long education of the Chosen People, the faithful Remnant, was fulfilled in Mary. In her conception Christ had already freed her from sin so she could grow in virtue her whole life. Even in her conception she had been freed by Christ from all sin and constantly grew in every virtue just as we are freed in baptism to grow in all the virtues. Through her intercession the whole Communion of Saints is led in prayer for all souls.
Mary shows us the reality of the glorified nature available to us when we attain our perfection in charity, when we will see God as He is. By her maternal acceptance of Jesus, the Son of God, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, Mary opened the gates of salvation for man. She is thus the Mother of the Church, and the Mother of all believers.
Benedict M. Ashley, O.P., Moral Theology: Biblical Foundations, (IN: International Catholic University, 2000/2005), Lecture 8B, The Splendor of Moral Truth.
Frank Sheed, Theology and Sanity (NY: Ignatius Press, 1946), p. 319-321.