The feast of Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God.
Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
On Christmas day our attention was focused on Jesus, the Incarnate Word of God. Today, seven days later, our attention is centered on Mary, his Mother. If Jesus is the Son of God, as we believe, then Mary must be the Mother of God. When the Church states that Mary is the Mother of God, it does not mean that Jesus’ divine nature comes from Mary. That nature he had from all eternity, but it is his human nature that was formed from the humanity of Mary. It was in her womb that the two natures were united in the one person, Christ, the second person of the Blessed Trinity. Since Christ is the Son of God, it but follows that Mary is the Mother of God.
Paul’s assertion, that “God sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out ‘Abba, Father!”(Gal 4:6) helps us realize that Mary is also the Mother of us all as brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ.
The precise title, “Mother of God” dates back to the third or fourth century, when, in the Greek form, “Theotokos” (God bearer) became the pivotal point of the Church’s teaching about the Incarnation. It was then but fitting that on 22 June 431, as a direct rebuttal to the Nestorian heresy, the Council of Ephesus, insisted that the Church was right in calling the holy Virgin Mary “Theotokos”. Fifteen centuries later, i.e. on 25 December 1931, Pope Pius XI, in his encyclical Lux Veritatis, enjoined the celebration of this feast on the whole Western Church. Nearer to our age and time, Mary is referred to as “Mother of God” no less than twelve times in Vatican Ii’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church.
In the third lesson of the second nocturn of the feast, mention is made of a striking monument to the proclamation of Mary’s incomparable honour as Mother of God. It is the arch in St Mary Major, which Pope Sixtus III decorated with mosaics shortly after the Council and which was later restored by Pope Pius XI.
The encyclical, Fulgens Corona (1953), states that from this sublime title, viz., “Mother of God”, flow “all the privileges and graces with which her soul and life were adorned in such an extraordinary manner and measure”. Pope Paul VI declared in his encyclical, Marialis Cultus (Marian Cult) that this feast is meant to commemorate the part played by Mary in the mystery of salvation. It is meant to exalt the singular dignity this mystery brings to the “Holy Mother through whom we were found worthy to receive the Author of Life”.