“Mary, Mother of God and Queen of Peace, invites all of us to a deep conversion.”

1 Jan 2023 | Life, News, Theotokos

On the day dedicated to the Mother of God, when we also celebrate the World Day of Peace, we republish journalist Luciano Regolo’s interesting and in-depth interview with Piero Coda. It was written for the weekly
magazine “Maria con te,” (Mary with you) where Regolo tries to find the Mother of God’s connection with Loppiano, the Focolare Movement and the value of peace and brotherhood.

The feast of the Blessed Virgin Mother of God, January 1, in Loppiano, where the church desired by the foundress of the Work of Mary (or Focolare Movement) is dedicated to Our Lady with this very title, takes on a special meaning; it is dense with spiritual reflections. We talk about it with Fr. Piero Coda, full professor of Trinitarian Ontology at the Sophia University Institute of the same citadel, of which he was dean from 2008 to 2020. He is also consultor of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, member of the International Mixed Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, and, since September 29, 2021, Secretary General of the International Theological Commission.Why did Chiara Lubich think of dedicating the church in Loppiano precisely to the Theotókos, the Mother of God?

“For the title of the Mother of God, in Chiara’s perception was, as in fact it is in the Catholic faith, the fundamental Marian title. The divine motherhood of the Virgin represents, so to speak, the meaning of Mary within our faith, according to what the Council of Ephesus proclaimed in 431. It was precisely from this dogma that Chiara favored the original title in Greek, Theotókos. The Focolare Movement, then, as is well known, was recognized by the Church as Work of Mary, and Chiara emphasized that ‘Work of Mary,’ does not mean simply a dedication, a devotion to Our Lady, but the offering of one’s life, one’s existence, one’s actions to Mary, so that through this work she may be made present on the whole action at the service of the Church’s mission, of witness to Christ today.”

The painting of the Theotókos kept in Loppiano is the work of a Hindu artist: is it also a sign that Mary is the mother of all humanity? And is it not also a reminder of the link between the titles Mother of God and Queen of Peace?

“This image, which comes from a Hindu artist, greatly impressed Chiara when she received it as a gift, and even though it was not painted for the church in Loppiano, she spontaneously decided to give it in turn to the Theotókos. Certainly there is this perception that Mary in Jesus is the mother of all humanity. As the Second Vatican Council states: She, by embodying the Word of God, the Son of God, united herself in a certain way with every man and therefore Mary’s motherhood extends to the entire human race. Which then, in some way, the Gospel of John (19:25-34) expresses at the scene of the Cross, when Jesus says to Mary, “Woman, behold your son,” pointing to the disciple John and to him, “Behold your mother.” With these words it is all humanity that is entrusted to Mary as mother. Right here is the connection with the title Queen of Peace. Our Lady, being the mother of humanity is the mother of universal brotherhood. For if all people are children of God, she who is Mother of God is also mother of all humanity. All are children of Mary in as much as we are brothers and sisters, among us in Christ, who is the “firstborn among many brothers,” as St. Paul said.”

January 1, the feast of the Mother of God is also the World Day of Peace, which makes the significance of this connection even more compelling…

“Yes, absolutely. The perception of the profound significance of Mary as a universal mother beyond differences of cultures was very much present in Chiara. It is a truth that particularly stands out in the spiritual message of Our Lady of Guadalupe. I was present when she visited the Morenita at the shrine in Mexico City. She was warmly welcomed and gave a significant speech emphasizing precisely this aspect: Mary as mother and also as a model of inculturation, of the encounter between cultures or, as Pope Francis would say today, of the culture of encounter.”

Is that why Mary is Queen of Peace?

“Yes, Mary is Queen of Peace in that she teaches us to live the encounter with others as brothers and sisters, she encourages us to be in harmony with all cultures, she is a Universal Queen, who urges us, quoting the Holy Father again, to ‘walk together.’ She is the privileged traveling companion in the synodal journey that involves all peoples and all Churches.”

How can we spiritually live the liturgical feast of the Mother of God to the fullest in such a bleak glimpse of our time, furrowed by the war in Ukraine and other serious crises?

“I think precisely by intensely putting our gaze on Mary Mother of God, Queen of Peace, who invites us all to a deep conversion and asking her this gift of grace from the Father. During the Advent season we were enlightened by the word of Isaiah: behold, what falls from heaven must sprout from the earth. Justice, peace, fraternity will sprout on earth if we welcome God’s gift and if we make our hearts, our minds, wombs that welcome God’s love. Like Mary, who is not only the model of this welcoming, of this “Fiat,” of this bearing fruit, or of that peace that descends from above, but she is the one who enables us to live it, commits us to living it. She accompanies us to true reception and in making us fruitful soil that germinates peace and fraternity. We must all have this great hope.”

The words of Blessed Alberione, founder of the Pauline Family, come back to mind: ‘Bring Jesus into us and offer him to the world like Mary…

“Yes, Chiara was also won over by Alberione’s writings. She spoke of them to me with amazement and admiration, feeling that they were close to her intuition: just as Mary gave birth to Jesus in the flesh, so mystically, in faith, all of us together in communion, must give birth to Christ and give him to the world.”

By Luciano Regolo, published in the weekly “Maria con te” (Mary with you), of Jan. 1, 2023

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