I was reading a homily given by one of my priests in his homily for the Assumption of Mary a few Saturdays ago, and he talked about how men look for wives like their mothers. And he used this to explain the connection between Mary (the Mother of God) and the Church (the Bride of Christ), which I thought was a fascinating point. He then said:
For example in today’s introit from the St. John’s Book of Revelation [Rev 12:1]: “A great sign appeared in the heaven, a woman clothed in the sun…” Some would say that this woman is the Church; others would say it’s Mary; but the Catholic tradition has always seen this as referring to both Mary and the Church. Because Mary, the Mother of the Bridegroom, is the archetype, or the model of what the Church is called to be. The Church, and each member of the Church, is called to be like Mary: full of faith and love, chaste and holy, and full of grace.
Of course, the Church is both human and divine, and the human elements in the Church are rather imperfect. Yet, as Father explained, Christ’s expectations of us are not (and cannot be) unrealistic. But to help us along the way, He also gave us His Mother as an additional gift upon the Cross (see John 19:26-27; Revelation 12:17):
But also, because, like a perfect mother of the bridegroom should, at the time of the wedding, Mary became not just a mother-in-law, but a real mother to her son’s wife. When Christ hung on the Cross in the middle of his greatest act of nuptial love for his bride, his Church, he turned to Mary and gave her as mother to his bride. And so she loves the bride as her own daughter.
Well said, Father!