A Catholic Homily from Catholic Doors
Christ has two inseparable natures, God and man, in His single person. As such Mary can never be said to be the Mother of His human nature only and not His divinity because that would be make Christ a dichotomy, a split personality, which is a heresy
Dear members of the Body of Christ, today it is January 1. Another day and another year has begun. I suppose with all the news in the media during the past year on terrorist activities, wars here and there, natural disasters, many must have thought that they would never see the arrival of this year. Well, here it is and a happy Mary, the Mother of God’s Feast to all of you my brothers and sisters in Christ.
Today’s special Feast affirms that we Catholics believe that the Blessed Virgin Mary truly is the Mother of God. This Catholic Dogma finds its origin in a Bible passage that is found in the Gospel of Luke. After the archangel Gabriel had appeared to the Blessed Virgin Mary, she went to visit her cousin Elizabeth. Upon her arrival, Elizabeth said to Mary, “And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me?” [Lk. 1:43] Through Elizabeth who was full of the Holy Spirit, it was proclaimed that Mary was truly the Mother of God.
When Saint Elizabeth, inspired by the Holy Spirit, identified the fruit of the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary by the words, “the mother of my Lord,” she was referring to the Lord, the One God of the Old and New Testaments. This one biblical passage is undeniable proof that Jesus is God incarnated, therefore qualifying the Blessed Virgin Mary to the elevated honour and title of “Mother of God.”
Recognizing that Mary was truly the Mother of God because, “according to the flesh,” she gave birth to Jesus, in 431 A.D., the fathers of the Council of Ephesus confessed “the Holy Virgin to be the Mother of God because God the Word took flesh and became man and from his very conception united to himself the temple he took from her.”
In 451 A.D. the Fathers of the Council of Chalcedon affirmed that the Motherhood of Mary was a truthful Dogma and an official Doctrine of the Holy Catholic Church. This Proclamation was based on the truth that “The birth of flesh reveals human nature; (while the) birth from a virgin is a proof of Divine power.”
The Marion Feast of the Mother of God reaffirms the teachings of the early Church Councils, that Mary was the mother of Jesus who was both God and human. The Holy Bible supports the truth that Jesus was both God and human in the Gospel of John. In John 1:14, we read, “The Word became flesh and lived among us.” In Matthew 1:18-25, we read that Mary was the Mother of Jesus and in John 20:28, it is stated that Jesus is God. By uniting all these biblical truths, we come to the conclusion that the Blessed Virgin Mary is the indisputable Mother of God.
The Blessed Virgin Mary did not always hold the title of Mother of God. Her Motherhood began at the moment when the eternal God entered human history. At that moment, the second Divine presence of the Trinity, the Word, took on a human nature in the womb of Mary. Therefore, as God incarnated, Jesus had two natures, a Divine and a human nature. Mary was the mother of His human nature.
In Jesus dwelled the fullness of God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. From the Letter of Paul to the Colossians, we read that in Jesus the fullness of God was pleased to dwell bodily. [Col. 1:19, 2:9]
On the subject of the manner in which God the Father dwelled within Jesus, in 431 A.D., in the Third letter of Cyril to Nestorius, the Council of Ephesus stated:
“But we do not say that the Word of God dwelt as in an ordinary man born of the holy virgin, in order that Christ may not be thought of as a God-bearing man. For even though “the Word dwelt among us”, and it is also said that in Christ dwelt “all the fullness of the godhead bodily”, we understand that, having become flesh, the manner of his indwelling is not defined in the same way as he is said to dwell among the saints, he was united by nature and not turned into flesh and he (God the Father) made his indwelling in such a way as we may say that the soul of man does in his own body.”
“For we do not divide up the words of our Saviour in the gospels among two hypostases or persons. For the one and only Christ is not dual, even though he be considered to be from two distinct realities, brought together into an unbreakable union. In the same sort of way a human being, though he be composed of soul and body, is considered to be not dual, but rather one out of two. Therefore, in thinking rightly, we refer both the human and divine expressions to the same person.”
“He (God the Father) made his indwelling in such a way as we may say that the soul of man does in his own body.”
To fully perceive what is being said here, one needs to understand the full meaning of the word “soul.”
The soul of man is formless in nature. It is the self-awareness, the self-consciousness, the “I” or the “me” within the body. When someone says, “I am so and so,” it is his soul manifesting itself through the mind of his physical body.
Equally, affirming the Divine and human natures of Jesus, God the Father, the eternal Divine Soul Consciousness, manifested Himself through the mind of the physical body of the Lord Jesus who had life in Himself as the Father has life in Himself. [Jn. 5:26] Through the One Divine Soul Consciousness, both God the Father and Jesus can affirm “I am.” At the same time, through the individual minds of each presence of the Godhead, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit all affirm that They are one, the “I am” of the Old and New Testaments. In God, there is One Divine Soul but three minds.
To understand the One Soul and multiplicity of minds, let us consider the gift of bilocation. When Saint Francis bilocated, at the same time but in different places, there were two presences of him manifesting themselves apart from each other. During the gift of bilocation, Saint Francis still had only one soul. But each of his two different bodies had a mind of its own, the second body having life in itself as the first body had life in itself. Through the mind of each body, the soul of St. Francis, his self- awareness, was able to simultaneously manifest itself in two places.
Using a different approach, when we think of the mother of Saint Francis, was she not the mother of his soul and his body? Was she not also the mother of both of his bodies while he bilocated? This entitled the mother of St. Francis to be called the mother of his soul, his two minds and his two bodies. Why? Because they were all one! There was only one Saint Francis!
Equally, when we think of the mother of Jesus, was she not the mother of the eternal Divine Soul and His physical body, the human nature? As the mother of Jesus who is God, in who dwelled the fullness of God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, does this not also entitled the Blessed Virgin Mary to be called the Mother of all Three Presences of the Blessed Trinity?
As the Mother of God, is the Blessed Virgin Mary not entitled to be called the mother of the Divine nature of the formless heavenly Father, of the spiritual nature of the Holy Spirit Who is invisible and of the human nature of Jesus Christ who is visible? Why? Because all three Divine Presences of the Blessed Trinity are inseparable!
If we are to affirm that the mother of Saint Francis was without question the mother of his soul and even the mother of his second presence during the gift of bilocation, then we must also affirm without question that the Blessed Virgin Mary is the Mother of the Divine Soul Consciousness, the Holy Spirit and the human nature of God incarnated that were manifested through Jesus Christ.
My brothers and sisters, in Jesus dwelled the Divine nature, the spiritual nature and the human nature. These three natures coexisted in the person of the Lord Jesus who was the Son of the Blessed Virgin Mary. While Mary did not give birth to the eternal Divine and spiritual natures of God, as the mother of One, she was the mother of all Three for these three natures are inseparable. As the soul, the spirit and the body of man cannot be separated in the fullness of a human being, the Divine Soul of God, His Holy Spirit, and His beloved Son Jesus Christ could not be separated to ensure that Jesus was truly God and truly man.
The above explanation affirms the statement of Saint Paul in the Letter of Paul to the Romans where it states, “Ever since the creation of the world his (God) eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he (God) has made. So they (the believers) are without excuse” [Rom. 1;20] The aforementioned are the reasons why we Catholics affirm that the Blessed Virgin Mary truly is the Mother of God.
Further reading Why Mother of God?