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128

Part One

“Mary is more blessed because she embraces faith in Christ than because

she conceives the flesh of Christ.”

169

507

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.”

170

IN BRIEF

508

From among the descendants of Eve, God chose the

Virgin Mary to be the mother of his Son. “Full of

grace,” Mary is “the most excellent fruit of redemp-

tion” (

SC

103): from the first instant of her conception,

she was totally preserved from the stain of original sin

and she remained pure from all personal sin through-

out her life.

509

Mary is truly “Mother of God” since she is the mother

of the eternal Son of God made man, who is God

himself.

510

Mary “remained a virgin in conceiving her Son, a

virgin in giving birth to him, a virgin in carrying him,

a virgin in nursing him at her breast, always a virgin”

(St. Augustine,

Serm.

186, 1: PL 38, 999): with her whole

being she is “the handmaid of the Lord” (

Lk

1:38).

511

The Virgin Mary “cooperated through free faith and

obedience in human salvation” (

LG

56). She uttered

her yes “in the name of all human nature” (St. Thomas

Aquinas,

STh

III, 30, 1). By her obedience she became

the new Eve, mother of the living.

169 St. Augustine,

De virg.,

3: PL 40, 398.

170

LG

64; cf. 63.

967

149