The Son of God is the firstborn of many brothers. Although
by nature he is the only-begotten, by grace he has joined many
to himself and made them one with him. For to those who receive
him he has given the power to become the sons of God.
He became the son of man and made many men sons of God,
uniting them to himself by his love and power, so that they
became as one. In themselves they are many by reason of their
human descent, but in him they are one by divine rebirth.
The whole Christ and the unique Christ - the body and the
head - are one: one because born of the same God in heaven, and
of the same mother on earth. They are many sons, yet one son.
Head and members are one son, yet many sons; in the same way,
Mary and the Church are one mother, yet more than one mother;
one virgin, yet more than one virgin.
Both are mothers, both are virgins.
Each conceives of the same Spirit, without concupiscence. Each
gives birth to a child of God the Father, without sin. Without
any sin, Mary gave birth to Christ the head for the sake of his
body. By the forgiveness of every sin, the Church gave birth to
the body, for the sake of its head. Each is Christ's mother, but
neither gives birth to the whole Christ without the cooperation
of the other.
In the inspired Scriptures, what is said in a universal
sense of the virgin mother, the Church is understood in an
individual sense of the Virgin Mary, and what is said in a
particular of the virgin mother Mary is rightly understood in a
general sense of the virgin mother, the Church. When either is
spoken of, the meaning can be understood of both, almost without
In a way, every Christian is also believed to be a bride of
God's Word, a mother of Christ, his daughter and sister, at once
virginal and fruitful. These words are used in a universal sense
of the Church, in a special sense of Mary, in a particular sense
of the individual Christian. They are used by God's Wisdom in
person, the Word of the Father.
This is why Scripture says: I will dwell in the
inheritance of the Lord. The Lord's inheritance is, in a
general sense, the Church; in a special sense, Mary; in an
individual sense, the Christian. Christ dwelt for nine months in
the tabernacle of Mary's womb. He dwells until the end of the
ages in the tabernacle of the Church's faith. He will dwell for
ever in the knowledge and love of each faithful soul.