Dear Father Angelo,
I’m praying the Dominican Litany for our friends’ daughter who is seriously ill.
They are very beautiful, but I’ve some concerns about “Saint Mary, Christ’s Mother and Spouse” and another litany which is similar: could you explain to me the concept of Mary Spouse of Her Son, please? Thanks for your attention and the precious clarifications you give to the readers.
Answer of the priest
1. As a man, Jesus is Mary’s son.
As the new Adam and the leader of regenerated humanity Jesus wanted Mary not only to be the most beautiful fruit of Redemption but also to be a participant in a singular way.
From the cross Jesus entrusted Mary to us as the mother of regenerated humanity.
2. In this sense, therefore, She also became Jesus’ Spouse, since Jesus is the new Adam and Mary is the new Eve.
3. In the New Testament, Our Lady is never called directly by the name of “new Eve”.
However, some wanted to see a reference in the words used by Jesus when from the cross He gave us Mary as the mother of the regenerated humanity.
He didn’t call her by the name of mother, but by the name of woman: “Woman, here is your son” (John 19,26). The word Woman refers to that woman God talked about after the original sin, when He said to the snake: “I will put enmity between you and the woman” (Genesis 3,15).
4. You can find another reference in Revelation 12,5: “She gave birth to a son, a male child, destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod”.
In the same chapter you can read “when the dragon saw that it had been thrown down to the earth, it pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child” (Revelation 12,13).
Here’s a reference to Our Lady and to the Church together.
They are united by persecution.
But Jesus entrusts the persecuted disciples to this woman.
5. The Church has always believed that God has decreed that his plan of salvation would happen through Christ.
However, in his plan of salvation ab aeterno He wanted Our Lady as a participant in a singular way: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers…”.
6. This is the reason why the Second Vatican Council in the Lumen gentium said:“Predestined from eternity by that decree of divine providence which determined the incarnation of the Word to be the Mother of God, the Blessed Virgin was on this earth the virgin Mother of the Redeemer, and above all others and in a singular way the generous associate and humble handmaid of the Lord. She conceived, brought forth and nourished Christ. She presented Him to the Father in the temple, and was united with Him by compassion as He died on the Cross. In this singular way she cooperated by her obedience, faith, hope and burning charity in the work of the Saviour in giving back supernatural life to souls. Wherefore she is our mother in the order of grace” (LG 61).
7. The Council said also: “Rightly therefore the holy Fathers see her as used by God not merely in a passive way, but as freely cooperating in the work of human salvation through faith and obedience. For, as St. Irenaeus says, she “being obedient, became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race” (LG 56).
And “She is “the mother of the members of Christ . . . having cooperated by charity that faithful might be born in the Church, who are members of that Head.” (LG 53).
8. The title of spouse, therefore, is not without meaning because, as the spouses share everything among them, in the same way Jesus wanted to share the work of redemption with Our Lady in a singular way, calling her to cooperate for our salvation in a unique manner.
The Church has never formalized this title of Mary, spouse of Jesus Christ, but approves of the devotion of the faithful who praise and invoke her also with this title.
I wish you well, I recommend you to the Lord and I bless you.