Do we want to be Christians, that is, imitators of Christ? Let us look to Mary. She is the most perfect example of likeness to Christ. She is the "type." She is the image that reflects Christ better than any other. She is the "excellent exemplar in faith and in charity" (Lumen Gentium, 53).
How sweet, how consoling it is for us who wish to walk in the footsteps of the Lord to have before us Mary, her image, her remembrance and her kindness, her humility and purity, her greatness. How close to us the Gospel is in the power that Mary personifies and radiates with human and superhuman splendor!
When we draw close to her any fear we would have is dissipated - fear that in marking our spirituality and devotion to Mary, our religious sense, our vision of life, and our moral energy would become soft, weak, and almost infantile. She is the poetess and prophetess of redemption, and we hear from her pure lips the strongest and most original hymn ever uttered - the "Magnificat"! She reveals the transforming design of the Christian economy, the historical and social result that still draws its origin and strength from Christianity...
At this point a second way is opened for us by Our Lady, so that we may reach our salvation in the Lord Christ: it is her protection. She is our ally, our advocate. She is the confidence of the poor, of the lowly, of the suffering. She is even the "refuge of sinners." She has a mission of pity, goodness, and intercession for all. She consoles every grief of ours. She teaches us to be good, to be strong, and to be compassionate toward all. She is the queen of peace. She is the Mother of the Church.
-Pope St. Paul VI (Homily, April 24, 1970)