The special devotion which Catholics hold toward Mary can be understood
by reflecting on the different titles given to Mary.

She is called "Mother of God" because she is the mother of Jesus, who is God the Son. No other human being in history may lay hold to this claim. This is why, in the Gospel of Luke Mary prays: "All ages to come shall call me blessed. God who is mighty has done great things for me; holy is His name."

We call her "Mother of all People" because Jesus, her Son, is the new Adam, the new head of the human race. Therefore, Mary is the spiritual Mother of all who profess faith in Jesus Christ.

She is called "ever-Virgin" because, according to Sacred Tradition, she remained a virgin even after the birth of Jesus. But even more important than her physical virginity is the spiritual meaning of this title. The virginity to which Mary consecrated herself indicates her total love of God and her dedication to do His will.

Mary is called the "Mother of the Church" not only because of her inspiring presence among the early Christian communities following the Resurrection and the Ascension, but chiefly because she is the mother of Christ, head of the Church.

She is call "Mediatrix," a title which points out the role of mediator that Mary plays on behalf of all humanity. As is stated in the First Letter to Timothy, there is but one mediator between God and humanity and that is Jesus Christ. By calling Mary "Mediatrix," Catholics do not deny the primary importance of Jesus' saving Death and Resurrection. We do recognize, however, that it was Mary's "yes" to God which made the incarnation possible. Without Mary's acceptance, Jesus could not have become human. That is why it is appropriate to recognize the key role played by Mary in salvation history.

She is called "The New Eve" because, like our First Parents, Mary enjoyed complete innocence, holiness and justice. This is what we call the Immaculate Conception: that Mary, from the moment of her conception, was spared the stain of what we have come to call Original Sin. Unlike the first Eve, however, she chose to cooperate with God rather than work against Him. Thus we hear the ancient Christian proverb, "Death through Eve, life through Mary."

Mary is "Queen of Heaven" because she already enjoys the fullness of eternal life, body and soul, with Christ in Heaven. According to the earliest tradition, which has become the Catholic doctrine of the Assumption, Mary's body did not undergo corruption, but was transformed in glory. This privilege was granted her because of her special role in salvation history; it is also a promise of our own resurrection.

These various titles - "Mother of God", "Mother of All People", "Ever-Virgin", "Mother of the Church", "Mediatrix", "New Eve" and "Queen of Heaven" - illustrate the special devotion which Catholics have for Mary. Perhaps most important of all, however, is the view among Catholics that Mary is the perfect model of faith in Jesus Christ. Her goodness, humility and patience supported Jesus in His ministry until the end, when she followed Him to the Cross. That is the kind of obedience to which we all are called.