It seems Mary is being given a new place and status that can't be found in history or in the person of Mary.
Last week, while in Milwaukee, we had the closing Mass in the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist; Mother Church of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. Prior to the Mass, there were a number of tour guides present to show us around and give us some sense of the history and art contained there-in.
One particular statue, this of the Blessed Mother, caught our eye, especially as the tour guide described her: 'Did you notice that she has a Rabbi's stole over her left arm, signifying her teaching authority?' Um, no, I didn't notice; especially as the statue makes Mary look like more of a man than I'll ever be!
As we were leaving the Cathedral, several of the priests (and the layfolk we let tag along) were chatting about the statue, in particular, as we walked back to our hotel.
What struck me as off about it was that the artist was assigning much more to Mary than she claims for herself; and totally misunderstood the authority that Mary has: her's is not an authority claimed by power, but rather assumed by humility.
This becomes the key difference between Mary, the New Eve, and the original Eve in the Garden of Eden: what Eve stretched out her hand and took by her own initiative; Mary freely accepts as gift to her from God. In a very real sense, Mary begins the undoing of what had been caused by Eve; and Mary then gives us the model of how to relate to her Son: in openness and in receptivity, not by striving to take out of a sense of entitlement or power.
Mary is the Primordial Disciple of her Son because she freely accepts the gift of His life; she does not take it as her own. In this sense, let us all humbly open our hearts to also receive the gift of Her Son, the gift of Divine Life which brings about our salvation.