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Do We Really Need A Spiritual Mother?

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By Father Kilian McGowan, C.P.  


In the search for Christian Perfection there are certain basic laws of progress.  When you flaunt these laws you invite spiritual mediocrity.  The most fundamental of these laws is that our life must be centered on Jesus Christ-for He is the ONLY way to eternal life.  Secondly, Our Christ-life will be the most perfect as it grows and develops under the influence of Mary, His Mother.

At the foot of Calvary, as the life of her divine Son ebbed away, Mary accepted a mission that was inseparable from the Motherhood of our Blessed Lord.  For the dying Savior gave His mother not only to the Apostle John, but to each of us when He said: “Behold thy mother!” Therefore, we cannot truly appreciate her role in the plan of redemption without a deep understanding of her function as our spiritual mother.

With Mary’s acceptance of this mission in the hour of her greatest
sorrow, God created in her heart a love for us of infinite
tenderness, of undying devotion, and of profound affection.  You
were given the most understanding, the most self-sacrificing, the
most loving of mothers.  Her mother’s heart is merciful,
understanding, vigilant, and unchanging in its love for each of us.

Of all the children of Eve, our Blessed Lady most perfectly fulfills
the function of motherhood.  Thus when we call Mary, “Mother”-in a
very true sense we have said everything that can be said to her!  
She is physical mother of Christ and spiritual mother of all
Christians.  She mothers spiritually all men called to share in the
life that her Son came to pour out so abundantly.

What should your response be to the truth of Mary’s spiritual
motherhood?  You should approach her with the heart and spirit of a
child.  The humility, the spirit of confident trustfulness, the
dependence (here in the spiritual realm) of a child should
characterize our love.  Each of her children will express his love
in accord with his nature, of course, but the interior love must be

This devotedness should be a persistent and habitual thing.  Mary is
not our spiritual mother now and then - she is ALWAYS our spiritual
mother.  True devotion to our Blessed Mother is more than an
occasional “Hail Mary.”  It’s not just rattling off a prayer in
times of a spiritual or temporal crisis.

True devotion to Our Blessed Mother means a permanent state of mind
and an habitual manner of acting.  It’s something that fills every
hour of every day - just like a child’s relationship to his mother!  
You should turn to her always, depend on her with confidence, and
lean on her wise guidance.

The words of the great Apostle St. Paul sum up perfectly the
function of Our Blessed Lady in your life.  He said: “My little
children, for whom I am in labor until Christ be formed in you.”  If
this be so true of the Apostle Paul, how much more true it is of the
Mother of Christ.  She is in constant and perpetual labor, as it
were, to bring forth even more perfectly, the likeness of Christ,
her divine Son in our hearts and lives.

St. Bernard sums up the great spiritual advantage of true
devotedness to our Blessed Mother in the following consoling

“By following her, you will not go astray.

By praying to her you will not despair.

By thinking of her you will not make a mistake.

Supported by her, you will not fail.

Under her protection, you will no longer be afraid.

Guided by her, you will never grow weary.

Having her benevolence, you are assured of salvation.”      

From "Your Way to God", by Fr. Kilian McGowan, Published by Newman
Press, New York, 1967, pp. 76-78.

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