Having discussed the beautiful title concerning the chastity of Mary yesterday, which relates to respecting the dignity of the body, mind and heart and the sacredness of our bodies as the temple of the living God, of which Mary was the first to harbour that God in bodily form; today, we find ourselves stationed around another title: “Mother Inviolate”. Needless to say that a good understanding of the former can lead to a better introduction of the latter. When we refer to our Lady as the “Mother Inviolate”, what do we mean? The word inviolate simply means “free or safe from injury or violation, unbroken.” It follows, then, that the Blessed Virgin Mary is called “Mother Inviolate” because she conceived and gave birth to our Lord Jesus Christ without violating her sacred virginity; in other words, her bodily dignity (virginity) was intact and not violated at the birth of the Saviour as a result of her chastity. Thus, her intact virginity during the birth of Christ is said to as a result of supernatural intervention.
Since I had already discussed the beautiful title of the virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary some days back, it would be worthwhile to reiterate the particular statement I made regarding the Church’s teaching on this attribute of Mary. I affirmed that Mary’s virginity ‘in partu’ (during the birth of Christ) and the ‘miraculous birth’ indicate that she was not violated physically. This is important because the virginity of Mary ‘in partu’ protects the miraculous nature of birth, in turn, the miraculous birth points to the integrity that goes beyond the mere absence of sexual relations, and which further is a sign of Mary’s interior virginity. Several Old Testament imageries support the virginity ‘in partu.’ St. Ambrose refers to Mary as the east gate of Ezekiel; it says: “Then, He brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary which faces toward the EAST, but it was shut. And the Lord said to me: ‘This gate shall be shut; it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter by it, because the Lord God of Israel has entered by it; therefore it shall be shut’” (Ezekiel 44:1-2). Also, Isaiah 66:7 refers to the delivery of a male child born without labour pains. Lastly, there is a reference in the Song of Songs (4:12) to the bride being an enclosed garden and a sealed fountain.
Recalling that one of the sufferings inherited because of original sin is that of “childbearing pains”: The Lord God said to Eve, “I will intensify the pangs of your childbearing; in pain shall you bring forth children.” (Gen 3:16). Hence, since Mary was free of original sin by her Immaculate Conception, she would be free of “childbearing pain”; because Luke makes us understand that she ‘wrapped the Child in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger’ (Lk. 2:7), which indicates the absence of the usual pains and infirmities of childbirth—because Mary was able to wait on Jesus. For this reason, Pope St. Leo the Great said, “She (Mary) brought Him forth without the loss of virginity, even as she conceived Him without its loss…(Jesus Christ was) born from the Virgin’s womb because it was a miraculous birth.
Therefore, invoking our Blessed Lady as “Mother Inviolate” our relationship with the Blessed Virgin Mary becomes strengthened at prayers, for it helps us to understand properly her virginal motherhood. We come to a better understanding of her virginity as the sign of her faith unadulterated by any doubt, and of her undivided gift of herself to God’s will. (cf. CCC #506). And as the Catechism of the Catholic Church (quoting Lumen Gentium #64, cf. 63) puts it: “At once virgin and mother, Mary is the symbol and the most perfect realization of the Church: “the Church indeed…by receiving the word of God in faith becomes herself a mother. By preaching and Baptism, she brings forth sons, who are conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of God, to a new and immortal life. She herself is a virgin, who keeps in its entirety and purity the faith she pledged to her spouse.” (CCC #507)
Mother Inviolate, pray for us that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
© Fr. Chinaka Justin Mbaeri, OSJ
Paroquia Nossa Senhora de Fatima, Vila Sabrina, São Paulo, Brazil
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PS: Have you prayed your Rosary today?