Mary plays an important role in humanity’s salvation, Vatican II affirmed.
“With her the exalted Daughter of Sion, and after a long expectation of the promise, the times are fulfilled and the new Economy established, when the Son of God took a human nature from her, that He might in the mysteries of His flesh free man from sin,” Lumen gentium says.
The new Eve
The document contrasted Mary’s obedience to Eve’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden.
“The Father of mercies willed that the incarnation should be preceded by the acceptance of her who was predestined to be the mother of His Son, so that just as a woman contributed to death, so also a woman should contribute to life,” the document stresses.
‘Handmaid of the Lord’
Mary’s “yes” to being the mother of God made her an active participant, the council pointed out.
“Embracing God’s salvific will with a full heart and impeded by no sin, she devoted herself totally as a handmaid of the Lord to the person and work of her Son, under Him and with Him, by the grace of almighty God, serving the mystery of redemption,” the dogmatic constitution reads. “Rightly therefore the holy Fathers see her as used by God not merely in a passive way, but as freely cooperating in the work of human salvation through faith and obedience.”
‘Queen of the universe’
The document also recognizes Mary as queen.
“Finally, the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all guilt of original sin, on the completion of her earthly sojourn, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen of the universe, that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and the conqueror of sin and death,” the document declares.
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‘Model of virtues’
Mary is, as the document calls her, the “model of virtues.”
“Piously meditating on her and contemplating her in the light of the Word made man, the Church with reverence enters more intimately into the great mystery of the Incarnation and becomes more and more like her Spouse,” it reads. “For Mary, who since her entry into salvation history unites in herself and re-echoes the greatest teachings of the faith as she is proclaimed and venerated, calls the faithful to her Son and His sacrifice and to the love of the Father.”
‘Sign of hope and solace’
Mary, the document concludes, will “shine forth on earth, until the day of the Lord shall come, as a sign of sure hope and solace to the people of God during its sojourn on earth.”
She constantly intercedes for humanity, it adds.