The Church made an unexpected statement about the Blessed Virgin Mary during the Second Vatican Council. At this meeting of bishops, Church leaders referred to Mary’s life as a pilgrimage of faith, a theme Blessed John Paul II explored and further developed in his encyclical letter Mother of the Redeemer, as he spoke of the Church’s faith pilgrimage.
This reference to Mary’s faith journey was unexpected because pilgrimage implies movement toward a goal, and prior to the Second Vatican Council, the Church rarely thought of the Virgin Mary as progressing in her faith. This point is important because even the deepest faith does not bring clear knowledge of the ways in which God sustains and accompanies our lives and our world. Blessed John Paul II tells us that faith at times involves a perplexity, a heaviness of heart, such as that described by Saint John of the Cross as a dark night of faith in which our understanding is clouded or tested.