SOLEMNITY OF MARY, MOTHER OF GOD
Why Do Catholics Rightfully Call Mary, the Mother of God?
AV summary & text
The Catholic Church wants to begin the year asking for the protection of the Most Holy Virgin Mary. Today’s solemnity is the most ancient Marian feast in the Occident. Inscriptions and paintings of “Mary, Mother of God” can be found in the catacombs or very ancient subterraneous labyrinths dug under the city of Rome where the first Christians reunited to celebrate the Holy Mass during the times of persecution.
When the heretic Nestorius dared to say that Mary was not the Mother of God in the year 431 AD, 200 bishops from all over the world reunited in Ephesus (the city where the Most Holy Virgin spent her last years) and illumined by the Holy Spirit declared: “The Virgin Mary, yes, is the Mother of God because her son, Christ, is God.” Accompanied by the entire inhabitants of Ephesus who were carrying lighted torches, they had a great procession singing: “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”
Even if several centuries had passed after the conciliar proclamation of the Divine Maternity of Mary, a lot of people unfortunately still do not understand this truth. In a previous post, “On Loving Mary, Mother of God, Our Mother in http://wp.me/p6k7Mv-bE , someone commented, reprimanding me for calling Mary, the Mother of God. The commentary is as follows:
“Wrong [sic] Mary is not Mother of God XXX bcoz [sic] Jesus has two nature divine & human. so naging ina lang c Mary ni Cristo sa katawang tao… [so Mary is just the mother of Christ in his bodily person] Dapat Mother of Jesus, not mother of God, huh? may ina ba po ba ang Dios? maling pagtuturo [It should only be Mother of Jesus, not mother of God, huh? Does God have a mother? It is a wrong teaching].”
I don’t know if he is a Catholic…but if so and to clarify his erroneous comment incompatible with what the Catholic Church teaches, and to all other Christians, I responded:
“Do mothers give birth to natures? No, right? Mothers give birth to persons and not natures. In Our Lord Jesus Christ, both human and divine natures are united and inseparable in one person (hypostatic union): He is Perfect God and Perfect Man. Two natures inseparable in one person. So if Mary is the mother of Jesus, and Jesus is one Person with two natures and mothers give birth to just one person, and the person of Jesus is both divine and human at the same time, ergo, Mary is the Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Perfect God-Perfect Man, who is just one person! This is what the Christian Catholic Church teaches since the Council of Ephesus (431 AD), based on the Scriptures and against the Nestorian heresy which is the same as your stand. Mary is the Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ who is just one person. This is what the Catholic Church teaches and we Catholics believe.”
IF MARY IS THE MOTHER OF JESUS CHRIST AND JESUS CHRIST IS GOD, the logical conclusion to this simple syllogism is that MARY IS THE MOTHER OF GOD. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches in n. 495 and 509:
495 Called in the Gospels “the mother of Jesus”, Mary is acclaimed by Elizabeth, at the prompting of the Spirit and even before the birth of her son, as “the mother of my Lord”. In fact, the One whom she conceived as man by the Holy Spirit, who truly became her Son according to the flesh, was none other than the Father’s eternal Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity. Hence the Church confesses that Mary is truly “Mother of God” (Theotokos).
509 Mary is truly “Mother of God” since she is the mother of the eternal Son of God made man, who is God himself.
This, however, does not signify that Mary is older than God nor was she the source of Jesus’ divinity nor that God had a beginning. Rather, we say that she is the Mother of God since she carried in her womb the human body of the Word, to which his rational soul was immediately united, thus giving rise to the human nature that was assumed by the Word at that very instant. MARY CARRIED IN HER WOMB AND GAVE BIRTH TO A ONE DIVINE PERSON WITH TWO NATURES UNITED IN ONE FLESH: JESUS CHRIST, PERFECT GOD-PERFECT MAN, who is the second Person of the Most Blessed Trinity. Remember: mothers do not give birth to natures but rather to a real person.
KNOWING THAT MARY, MOTHER OF GOD, IS ALSO OUR MOTHER LEADS US TO HAVE A FILIAL LOVE, TRUST AND AFFECTION TOWARDS HER WHO LIKE ANY OTHER MOTHER IN THE WORLD WANTS THE BEST FOR HER CHILDREN. “Mother! Call her again and again. She is listening, she sees you in danger perhaps, and with her Son’s grace she, your holy Mother Mary, offers you the refuge of her arms, the tenderness of her embrace. Call her, and you will find yourself with added strength for the new struggle (St. Josemaria, The Way, n. 516).”
Dear friends, let us thank God the Father Almighty for giving us Mary as our Mother and ask her intercession for the year which is about to begin. “O God, who through the fruitful virginity of Blessed Mary bestowed on the human race the grace of eternal salvation, grant, we pray, that we may experience the intercession of her, through whom we were found worthy to receive the author of life, our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son (Opening Prayer of the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God).”
MAY YOU AND YOUR FAMILY HAVE A HAPPY AND PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR FILLED WITH DIVINE BLESSINGS OF GOOD HEALTH, MATERIAL AND ABOVE ALL, SPIRITUAL WEALTH AND HAPPINESS!
Cordially inviting you to like our FB page in http://www.facebook.com/CatholicsstrivingforHoliness
so we can have a wider apostolic reach and thus help more people in their Christian life. Thanks and may God shower you and your loved ones with the best of his blessings for 2017! Happy New Year!
Fr. Rolly Arjonillo.
AUDIO CREDIT: “Ave Maria (Lauridsen)” by the Philippine Madrigal Singers. With permission from conductor, Mark Anthony Carpio. Thanks, Mark!
PHOTOS SOURCES: All photos used here are for didactic and non-commercial purposes. No copyright infringement intended. Photos are from wikipedia.com, pinterest.com.