The Church calls St. Mary, the mother of all the living, mother of the New Life and the Second Eve. Eve lost the meaning due to her name:- mother of every living (Gen. 3:20), – for by her disobedience to God she obtained only death for her children instead of life, and became the mother of the dead. Her daughter, St. Mary, took her place; for by her faith, obedience and humility she became, through the Holy Spirit, the mother of Life. She offered to Adams children the Tree of life to eat, and thereby live forever.
Through the mystery of the divine Incarnation St. Mary became the mother of the Head of the mystical body and also the Mother of its members, as St. Augustine says. She received universal motherhood to all the believers. The holy Fathers consider St. Marys holy womb as the bridal chamber, the meeting place where the heavenly Bridegroom is united mystically with the Bride, i.e. the whole Church. There we accept Christ, her Son, as our Bridegroom and the Firstborn Brother; and we accept St. Mary, His mother, as our own mother.
* The Word is joined to flesh;The Word is wedded to flesh, and the bridal chamber of this exalted marriage is your womb.Let me repeat, the bridal chamber of this exalted marriage between the Word and the flesh is your womb, whence He, the Bridegroom, goes forth from His bridal chamber.
* God the Father arranged the nuptials for God, His Son, when, in the womb of the Virgin, He united Him to humanity, when He willed that He who is God before all the ages should, at the end of the ages, become Man
He united the Holy Church to Him, through the mystery of the Incarnation.
Now, the bridal chamber of this Bridegroom was the womb of the Virgin Mother. That is why the Psalmist says, He has set His tabernacle in the sun: and He is as a Bridegroom coming out of His bridal chamber (Ps. 18:6). And it was as a Bridegroom is in fact that He came forth from His bridal chamber, because to unite the Church to Himself, the Incarnate God went forth from the inviolate womb of the Virgin.
Pope Gregory (the Great)
This relation between the New Eve and all believers is declared officially by the Second Adam on the Cross, when He says to the New Eve, Woman, behold your son! and to His believers John, behold your mother!
Through the Cross we received our New Eve from God.
In this effect Tertullian says:
God knew that it is not good for man to be alone, and He knew how good it would be for him to have a woman with him, first Mary and then the Church. We received St. Mary as our New Eve, to say with Adam to our God: New Eve, the woman whom you gave me to be my helpmate, gave me to eat from the Tree of Life, i.e., the Cross of her Son!
Origen sees that every perfect Christian can, like St. John, receive from the Crucified Son, St. Mary as his own mother. He explains the words Behold, Your Son! Whoever is perfect, no longer lives only himself, but Christ also lives in him. Since Christ lives in him, it is said to Mary of him: Behold, Your Son, Christ!
Eve – St. Mary Parallel:
It is possible that the remote origins of the Eve – St. Mary parallel may be traced far back to Papias, Bishop of Hieropolis, in Asia Minor, at the turn of the first century. At the second century, St. Justine the Martyr (c. 165) draws attention to this Eve – St. Mary parallel in his dialogue with Trypho, as he says:
(The Son of God) became man through the Virgin, that the disobedience caused by the serpent might be destroyed in the same way it had originated
For Eve, an undefiled virgin, conceived the word of the serpent and brought forth disobedience and death. But the Virgin Mary, filled with faith and joy when the angel Gabriel announced to her the glad tidings that the Spirit of the Lord would come upon her and the Most High would overshadow her, and that therefore the Holy One born would be the Son of God….., that she replied: Let it be done to me according to your word (Luke 1.35).
It is clear that St. Justines thought – in the abovementioned parallel – is focused not on St. Mary, but on the Saviour, her Son.
St. Irenaeus (c. 172), the father of Mariology, had developed the above-mentioned passage, that the Eve – St. Mary analogy combined, for the first time, with a theology:(1) Just as Eve, while wife of Adam, was still a virgin
. and became by her disobedience the cause of death of herself and of the whole human race; so Mary too, espoused yet a virgin, became by her obedience the cause of salvation of both herself and the whole human race
The knot of Eves disobedience was loosened by Marys obedience. For what the Virgin Eve had bound in unbelief, the Virgin Mary loosened through faith
According to St. Irenaeus, St. Mary has a distinctive function in Gods plan towards our salvation. For she offered her free consent to God, i.e., her obedience, issued through her faith.
He also calls her Eves Advocate:
Whereas Eve had disobeyed God, Mary was persuaded to obey God, that the Virgin Mary might become the Advocate of the Virgin Eve…..
Similarly, Tertullian, writes in his book The Flesh of Christ:
For into Eve, as yet a virgin, the word of the devil had crept, to erect an edifice of death.
Thus, through a virgin, the Word of God was introduced to set up a structure of life.
What had been lost by one sex, was by the same sex restored and saved.
Eve had believed the serpent; Mary believed Gabriel.
That which one destroyed by unbelief the other set straight, by believing
God, therefore, sent down into the Virgins womb His Word, our good Brother, to blot out the memory of evil
.. The Alexandrian Teacher, Origen alludes to St. Mary as restoring the womankind the honour it had lost through Eves sin; in this way woman finds salvation in childbearing (1 Tim. 2:I5). He also says:
The joy trumpeted by Gabriel to Mary destroyed the sentence of sorrow leveled by God against Eve… Just as sin began with the woman and then reached the man, so too the good tidings had their beginning with the women (Mary and Elizabeth).
In the fourth century, Zeno of Verona, mentioned this parallel but in a new sense, Because the devil had wounded and corrupted Eve, creeping in by persuasion through her ear, Christs entering Marys ear, eliminates all vices from the heart. He cures the wound of the woman when He is born by the Virgin
St. Ephram, who said: This harp of the Holy Spirit never sings sweeter songs than when it has set its strings to sing the praises of Mary, developed the Eve – St. Mary Parallel, saying:
In her virginity Eve clothed herself with leaves of ignominy.
Your mother has clothed herself in virginity with the garment of glory, which is sufficient for all. A piece of clothing (i.e., the body) she has given to Him who clothes all
With the eye Eve perceived the beauty of the tree, and the advice of the slay one was fashioned in her mind
With the ear Mary perceived the Invisible One, who came in the voice.
She conceived in her womb the Power that came to her body.
He also says:
Let Eve, our first mother, now hear and come to me. Let her lift up her head that was bent low under the gardens shame.
Let her uncover her face and give thanks to you, because you have taken away her confusion. Let her bear the voice of perfect peace, because her daughter has paid her debt.
The serpent and Eve dug a grave and thrust the guilty Adam into hell, but Gabriel came and spoke with Mary, and thereupon was laid open the mystery whereby all the dead are raised again. Gods Eden is Mary; in her there is no serpent that harms…., no Eve that kills, but from her springs the Tree of Life that restores the exiles of Eden.
The insight of those Fathers is repeated in the writing of SS. Ambrose, Jerome, Augustine, Epiphanius of Salamis and others, from which I quote the following passages:
* Eve is called Mother of the human race, but Mary, Mother of Salvation.
* After the Virgin conceived and had born her Son for us
the curse was dissolved: death through Eve, life through Mary!
* Mary was included in Eve, but it was only when Mary came that we knew who Eve was!
* Eve looks to Mary, and her very name, mother of all the living is a mysterious presage of the future, for Life itself was born of Mary, whence she became more fully the mother of all the living.
Nor can we apply the passage: I will put enmities between you and the woman (Gen. 3:15) as to Eve alone; it received its true fulfilment when that Holy and Unique One came, born of Mary without human seed
St. Epiphanus of Salamis
* The woman found her advocate in a woman.
St. Gregory of Nyssa