Mary, Mother of God

This was my first blog post from a year ago.

Today is the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.

There are many titles for Mary, but Mother of God is one of the more ancient and endearing.  Everyone has a mother, even the Incarnate Word, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  And Jesus, in giving His Mother to the care of the Beloved Disciple at the foot of the cross (Jn 19:26-27), gave her to be Mother to the entire Church.

We call her the Blessed Mother, and so she is.  She is blessed to be the Mother of Jesus, the fruit of her womb.  She is blessed to be both Mother and Virgin.  She is blessed with the singular grace of being preserved from the stain of Original Sin, not by her own merits, but by those of her Son.  She is blessed, as well, to be Queen of Heaven, Queen of All Saints, Queen of Peace.  Even still, as St. Therese of Lisieux said, “Mary is more Mother than Queen.”  That she is.

There has been too much confusion and distress over the title Mother of God among some Christian traditions.  The confusion is unnecessary, I think.  It’s simple logic, really.  Jesus is God.  Mary is Jesus’ Mother.  Mary is the Mother of God.  When the Council of Ephesus in AD 431 bestowed upon Mary the title Mother of God, they were affirming what the faithful had been proclaiming for centuries: the Christological doctrine that Jesus really is God, and God incarnate from the very moment of His conception in Mary’s womb.  So adamant were the Council Fathers in affirming the divinity of Christ that they declared Mary Theotokos, that is, “God-bearer,” which the Western tradition translates, “Mother of God.”  Jesus is God.  Mary is Jesus’ Mother.  Mary is the Mother of God.

Some have misunderstood the Catholic Church, and the Orthodox Churches, as well, since they embrace the same doctrine, of teaching that Mary, as Mother of God, is the cause of Jesus’ divinity.  This is simply false.  Never and no where has the Catholic Church taught this blasphemy.  The point, of course, is to affirm that Jesus is the true Word Incarnate, the Word made flesh.  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. … And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, …” (Jn 1:1, 14a).  Were He not the Word prior to being made flesh, as the prologue to the Gospel According to John makes clear, He could not be the Word made flesh.  Rather, He would be one of the flesh who somehow became the Word, a heresy the Church rejects precisely in affirming Mary as Mother of God.  Mary is, however, the cause of Jesus’ humanity.  He took His flesh from her.  She is His true Mother.

In honoring Mary as Mother of God, we declare our faith in Jesus Christ as true God and true man, fully divine and fully human, the Word made flesh Who dwelt among us.  As she cared for the Christ child with the tenderness of a true Mother, so we fly to her as our Mother for protection against the enemies of orthodoxy and against the evil one who would tempt us away from our devotion to the truth of Jesus Christ revealed to us through the Church, the instrument of God’s revelation (Eph 3:8-12, 1 Tm 3:15).

“Beneath thy compassion, we take refuge, O Mother of God: do not despise our petitions in time of trouble, but rescue us from dangers, only pure one, only blessed one.”    Sub tuum praesidium, c. AD 250.

Be Christ for all.  Bring Christ to all.  See Christ in all.

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