Our Spiritual Mother

Roman Catholics and the Orthodox are familiar with the concept of a spiritual mother, designating Mary, the mother of our Savior, as such. Catholic prayers are literally filled with references to "our blessed mother", imploring her to intercede for her spiritual children. The Second Vatican Council even refers to her as a "mother to us in the order of grace." In John Paul II's prayer consecrating the world to Mary on  March 25, 1984, he refers to Mary as "Mother of individuals and peoples." Is there any room for a spiritual mother in the Christian faith? If so, who or what is it?

The Church Fathers did indeed teach the reality of a spiritual mother, but it was not Mary. Instead, this spiritual mother was seen as the church itself. The following are just a few of the many quotes available demonstrating this fact.

"The mother draws the children to herself, and we seek our mother, the church."
                                                                                   - Clement of Alexandria

"The virgin mother is one; I love to call her the church....She is both virgin and mother. That is she is as pure as a virgin, but as loving as a mother. Calling her children to her, she nurses them with holy milk."
                                                                      - Clement of Alexandria

"..our lady mother, the church.."- Tertullian

"Do not depart far from your mother (the church), and the highest will be able to be merciful to you...I exhort the adults that they should be born again and run in arms, as it were, to their mother from the womb."- Commodianus

"I gladly rejoice and am thankful, most brave and blessed brethren, at hearing of your faith and virtue, by which the church, our mother, glorifies."- Cyprian

"...we  begin to be gathered together once more into the bosom of the church, our mother."- Cyprian

"I wish I could persuade them, for the sake of our mutual affection, to return to their mother- that is, to the catholic church."- Cyprian

"Munnulus of Girba said: "Brethren, the truth of our mother, the catholic church, has always remained.."- Seventh Council of Carthage

"This is the desire and purpose of all heretics, to frame as many attacks of this kind as possible against our most holy mother, the church."
                                                                        - Treatise on Re-Baptism


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