After the fall of our first parents, God promised to send us a Savior. God cursed the serpent:
“I shall put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; it will bruise your head and you will strike its heel” (Gen 3:15).
This link between "woman" and the promised Savior was presented even more forcefully by the prophet Isaiah:
“Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Is 7:14).
When the “fullness” of time came (cf. Gal 4: 4; Heb 1:2), God sent the Archangel Gabriel announce to the Virgin of Nazareth, in a few concise words, his divine plan of salvation, and the role that would be hers as virgin Mother of the Savior. And Mary accepted.
And Mary obeyed. She became the Mother of the Son of God who took on our human nature. God endowed Mary with an exceptional gift. She was conceived without the stain of original sin, which is why the Archangel called her “full of grace.”
She is the beloved daughter of the Father, Mother of the Son of God and the temple of the Holy Spirit (cf. Lumen Gentium, 53). Mary had the glory of both motherhood and virginity. She is
“the only pride of our corrupt nature.”
She is God’s masterpiece. St Augustine praised this marvellous woman in these words:
"He (God) chose the mother he had created and he created the mother he had chosen" (Sermon 69, 3.4).
Mary was closely united to the Savior; she was with Christ at all the key moments of redemption: at his conception, his birth in Bethlehem, during his hidden life in Nazareth, at the wedding of Cana, during his miracles and his teachings, and especially on Calvary, the Ascension and Pentecost.
As was declared at the Second Vatican Council:
"During the public life of Jesus, Mary made significant appearances" (Lumen Gentium, 58).
The Virgin Mary is associated to the Church in a particular way:
“By her maternal charity, she cares for the brothers and sisters of her Son, who still journey on earth surrounded by dangers and trials, until they are led into the happiness of their true home” (Lumen Gentium, 62).
She is a model to follow Christ, not only for every Christian, but also for the Church as a whole. The Church honors her with affection and piety as a very beloved mother. All generations call her blessed (cf. Lk 1: 48). We can see why Pope John Paul II spoke of «the singularity and uniqueness of her place in the mystery of Christ" (Redemptoris Mater, 9).
Cardinal Francis Arinze