Mother of Ours

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On Jan. 1, the Church celebrates the feast of Mary, the Mother of God. Here's the explanation of that title of the Blessed Virgin from our free Mary App:

The early Christians usually referred to Mary in their writings in one of two ways. First, they simply called her "The Virgin." (This was a reference to the miracle of the virginal conception of Jesus Christ in her womb and also to Mary's perpetual virginity.) Second, they called her "The Mother of God." In his book, Introduction to Mary, Catholic theologian Dr. Mark Miravalle calls this the "first and foremost" truth about Mary, the truth from which "all her other roles and all her other honors flow" — though others, such as St. Maximilian Kolbe, would argue that Immaculate Conception deserves this distinction. He goes on to explain what "Mother of God" means:

Jesus is truly the Son of God, and Mary is repeatedly referred to in Scripture as the "Mother of Jesus" (Mt 2:13; Jn 2:1; Acts 1:14, etc.), then Mary must be the true Mother of God made man.

St. Paul also witnesses to the Divine Maternity when he states in his letter to the Galatians: "When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman" (Gal 4:4) (Introduction to Mary, third edition [Goleta, CA: Queenship Publishing, 2006], pp. 52-53).

We need to be clear that the early Christians never claimed that Mary was the Mother of God in heaven, before He came to earth — that would be impossible! Mary is a creature, and a creature cannot bring into existence a divine Person in heaven. After all, the divine Son of God exists eternally, whereas Mary only came into existence at her own conception and birth in the first century B.C. By calling her "The Mother of God," the early Christians simply meant to say that she was the Mother of the divine Son of God in His human form — the Mother of God incarnate ("incarnate" comes from the Latin "incarnatus," which means "in the flesh").

Again, Dr. Miravalle explains:

What precisely does Mary give to Jesus in her act of motherhood? First of all, Mary did not give Jesus his divine nature, nor did Mary give Jesus his divine personhood. Both of these divine aspects of Jesus Christ existed from all eternity. However, "when in the fullness of time, God sent his Son, born of a woman" (Gal 4:4), Mary gave to Jesus a human nature identical to her own (Introduction to Mary, p. 55).

On the other hand, it would not be true to say that Mary was the Mother only of Christ's human form, because no one can give birth to something vague and abstract like "human nature." Mothers do not give birth to "human nature" in the abstract but to persons with a human nature. In other words, a real "human nature" always has to belong to someone; it has to be "someone's" human nature that is born. In this case, the "someone" was the divine Person of the Son of God: It was the divine Son Himself, in His human nature, that was present in Mary's womb, and that was born in Bethlehem. This is why we can say that Mary was the Mother of God: because the Son of God received His human flesh from her and was born from her as a fully human being.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church summarizes the Church's teaching on Mary as Mother of God:

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" (Lk 1:43; Jn 2:1; 19:25; cf. Mt 13:55; et al.) 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) (n. 495).

Visit marian.org/app/ to download the app and get a treasury of Marian prayers and teaching.

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