Pope Francis wanted to celebrate God’s mercy with a full year extraordinary Jubilee. In the “Hail Holy Queen,” we call Mary “Mother of Mercy”; the Church invokes her with this title, because in it there is a deep theological meaning. In fact, it expresses the special preparation of the whole person of Mary, through the events of Israel, of every man and of all humanity, to that mercy “from generation unto generation, to those that fear Him.” We become sharers of it according to the eternal plan of the Holy Trinity. (see .: Enc. Letter Dives in Misericordia 9.3).
“Mercy” is at the center of the revelation that God wanted to make of Himself. The word “mercy” is the union of two words: “misery” and “heart.” Since the term “heart” indicates the ability to love, the center of being, “mercy” therefore has this basic meaning: love that looks to the misery of the human person, has compassion, takes care of want in humanity so as to make it free. Revelation attributes Mercy to the Lord; indeed, it is affirmed that God is “rich in mercy” [see. Eph 2.4]. This means that, for humanity, for each of us, God feels compassion for our miseries and wants to help us. God’s love for humanity is not just any love: it is a merciful love. A love that “feels” our misery as God’s own and strives to give us relief.
Mary is “Mother of Mercy” because she had the deepest understanding of God’s heart, since she lived a unique experience. She is ‘Mother of mercy’, because there is no one like her who welcomed in her mind and in her heart the mystery of God’s mercy towards the misery of every person.
The Incarnation of the Word is the first manifestation of the merciful love of God, which is realized in Mary’s womb. It is from her that the Word took on human nature. It was to her, through the angel, that God revealed He had already decided to rebuild his kingdom: the kingdom where the poor and the miserable are restored to their dignity. Mary lived in herself the mystery of the death and resurrection of Christ, and then experienced fully the revelation of the Father’s mercy. “By suffering deeply with her only-begotten” (Lumen Gentium 58, EV 1.452), Mary has understood the extreme the mercy of God in giving His Son.
In her grief, this mother has understood the depth of human misery, to which the Son of God had been driven by his mercy to humanity. She has experienced in herself all the unending meaning of divine mercy. Thanks to of the resurrection of her Son, at the end of her life on earth she did not know the corruption of the tomb. In her Assumption into heaven, Mary fully understood look that the Almighty had placed on her misery: she was preserved from all sin and from the corruption of death.
Mary is ‘Mother of mercy’, because she had a unique experience of God’s mercy because she was able to sympathize, like no other human being, with our misery. Her intercession obtains for us the grace that saves us. It is a persevering intercession, “because it is based on the sensitivity of her maternal heart, on her ability to reach all those who accept her merciful love.”
Mother of God merciful light of my soul in darkness. You are my hope, my support, my consolation. You have generated the true light of immortality. Mother of God of mercy, have mercy on me and put repentance in my heart, humility in my thoughts, reflection in my reasoning. (S. Simeon, 10th century)
Sr. Giulia Collavini, DC