Jan 1, 2018

Mary, Mother of God - a New Year

"Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners . . ."

The maternal image of Mary, the mother of Jesus, is certainly an enduring image of the Christmas season.  And Christians since the second century have referred to Mary as the Mother of God.  Yet, this title has not been without controversy, even to this day among some Christian communities.  How can God have a mother?

Well God doesn't have a mother in the sense that we were born into this life by natural means meaning that we have a human father and mother. God pre-existed time and space and all created things, including human life, including of course Mary herself. But the child which Mary bore was indeed unique.  That child, Jesus the Christ, was a forever joining of two natures in one person: divine and human.  So, to refer to Mary as the "Mother of God" is to say that her child Jesus is both God and man.  Mary bore Jesus the Son of the living God who embraced, took on our human nature fully and completely except for sin, and was born naturally of the virgin Mary.  Her child is God in the flesh.  The invisible divine mystery made visible among us.  Both the annunciation story in Luke's Gospel and the prologue to John's Gospel beautifully speak of this.  So, the point is that this Feast is more about Jesus than it is about Mary alone - as our own lives should be as well.

Historically, it was the Council of Ephesus in the year 431 which definitively put the  controversy known as Nestorianism to rest.  Simply Google Council of Ephesus and you'll find it all or click on this link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Council_of_Ephesus

So, as this new year begins, like the new life born through Mary by the Holy Spirit, let's look forward to a year of new life:  renewed peace in the world, rebuild bridges of relationships that may be harmed, as Pope Francis recommends we need to place more silence in our lives; a silent time for God and to avoid distractions and temptations.

A blessed and happy new year to all.  Mary the Mother of God, Christ Jesus our Savior, be a light for our lives in 2018.

O God, who through the fruitful virginity of the Blessed Mary
bestowed on the human race
the grace of eternal salvation, 
grant 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, 
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, 
one God for ever and ever. 

(Opening Prayer of Mass)