Mother or Bride?

I have heard and always believed the Church was the bride of Christ. At the same time Catholics call the Church “Mother”. How can it be both? I don’t think Jesus would marry his Mother! How do I process this.

~“Puzzled” srfnolen

Mary gave birth to Christ. The Church is Christ’s body.

Mary is not the mother of just the head but of all of Christ including his body.


Where would the “bride” fit in? I’ve always heard the Church was the Bride Of Christ. Can you give me more?

The Church is also the Bride of Christ.

***I feel a divine jealousy for you, for I betrothed you to Christ to present you as a pure bride to her one husband. **(2 Corinthians 11:2)

Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and his Bride has made herself ready;

(Revelation 19:7)*

Nuptial union has always been used to describe the relationship of Christ to his Church. Marriage now is a shadow of what our relationship to God will be like at the end of time.

This is wonderful symbolism, rooted in the reality of the relationship between Christ, his Mother and the Church. These are great mysteries which will be fully revealed at the end of time but we can’t take it so far as to say that Christ married his own body or that Christ marries his own mother.

Don’t over think it. For now, just know that Mary is our mother. She loves us like any mother loves a child and she takes us to her son. Christ too is the bridegroom who loves his Church as a husband loves his wife, even willing to die for her as Christ died on the Cross for us.

The Church is our Mother and Christ’s Bride.

But we use these terms in a way that transcends merely human relationships. Don’t try to make it too mechanical.

The Church “gives birth” to every Christian. It’s through Baptism, when we are born again through water and the Spirit, and are born into eternal life.

The Church also cares for us, feeds us, and teaches us, just like a mother does.

So the Church is both Christ’s Bride who is longing for the wedding, and the Mother of all of us who are part of the Church, as well as Christ’s own Body which is already part of Him.

I can pile on more if you want… :slight_smile:

I hope this is not too awkward, but let me try to tie in some theology on the matter. You know the parable of the talents where the master gives varying degrees of money to the servants and they go and invest/not invest that in various ways. In this parable, as Cardinal Journet and others have noted, the money (talents) are the graces we are given. We are then to go forth with the gift and bear fruit with that gift (the parable speaks of how the first two servants made “more” with what they were given).

Keeping this in mind, the Church is both bride and mother. A bride “receives” a life-giving gift from the bridegroom in a spousal relationship. The bride also brings forth life as a result of receiving the gift. These are figures of course. As Joe 5859 wisely said, don’t take things too mechanical. Take them theologically.

Take the example of Mary. Mary receives the “word” (Luke 1:38). She is in this sense the spouse of the Spirit which “overshadows” her. (Luke 1:35). And what does she bring forth but the “word” personified, Jesus Christ. Mary is also mother. She is both a bride and a mother simultaneously.

Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI) expounds on much of this in several of his books such as Daughter Zion, or Mary: The Church at the Source. For instance, he says: *The grain of wheat does not remain alone, for it includes the maternal mystery of the soil—Mary, the holy soil of the Church, as the Fathers so wonderfully call her, is an essential part of Christ. The mystery of Mary means precisely that God’s Word did not remain alone; rather, it assimilated the other—the soil—into itself, became man in the “soil” of his Mother, and then, fused with the soil of the whole of humanity, returned to God in a new form. (Ratzinger, Mary: The Church at the Source)The Church is likewise called to “be” fertile soil. We are to receive grace (i.e. be a bride) and bear fruit (i.e. be a Mother). Ratzinger continues:[T]he Gospel explains how men can become fruitful soil for God’s Word. They can become this soil by providing, as it were, the organic elements in which life can grow and mature; by drawing life themselves from this organic matter; by becoming themselves a word formed by the penetration of the Word; by sinking the roots of their life into prayer and thus into God.*None of this precludes that the Church is also our mother, even though there is a sense in which we look to the figure of a mother to recognize how we are called to bear fruit with God’ gifts. The great thing about typology is that it is not exhausted once one type is identified. For instance, Jesus is both the new Adam and also a type of Isaac. Being a type of one does not forbid him from being a type of another. In the same way, the Church is in a sense mother, the Church is in a sense our mother, and the Church is in a sense bride.

Yes, I tend to overthink. Thanks for your reply; it truly helped.

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