Monday, January 3, 2011


The Mother of God -- what a marvelous yet serious responsibility she carried. Indeed, this was an incredible trust given by God. Only His Sanctifying Grace which kept her from the stain of sin could prepare her for this. And, revealing the mystery of human freedom, her “Yes” participated in His loving plan.

by Randy Sly
Associate Editor, Catholic Online

WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online, Jan 1, 2011) -- It may be New Year's Day but it is also the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, in the Liturgical year. The New Year always begins by celebrating the beginning of the new covenant which came forth from the womb of the young woman, whose “fiat” changed the very history of all mankind.

In 431 A.D. the Third Ecumenical Council, which was held at Ephesus, declared that the Blessed Virgin Mary was indeed the Theotokos, the Mother of God. While the Church had always believed this, it was officially declared by the Council primarily because of a heresy initiated by Nestorius, Patriarch of Constantinople.

He and his followers, called Nestorians for obvious reasons, taught that Mary was the mother of the humanity of Jesus and not his divinity. They wanted to divide His natures. As with everything about the blessed Mother, her very life as well as her titles, had everything to do with her son, our Savior Jesus Christ.

In declaring her “Theotokos,” the Fathers were declaring once and for all that Christ was truly the union of God and man, fully human and fully divine, which theologians call the “hypostatic union.”

As St. Cyril of Jerusalem declared, “A mother does not give birth to a nature, she gives birth to a person”.

John Henry Cardinal Newman also reminds us that it was through her that the Lord received His human nature. He wrote, “Mary was no mere instrument of God’s dispensation. The Word of God did not merely pass through her as He may pass through us in Holy Communion.

“It was no heavenly body which the Eternal Son assumed. No, he imbibed; he sucked up her blood and her substance into His Divine person. He became man from her and received her lineaments and her features as the appearance and character under which He should manifest Himself to the world.

“He was known, doubtless, by His likeness to her, to be her Son.”

Mary, as the Mother of God, carried our Lord in her womb for nine months. I love the way the Byzantine Catholic Liturgy declares this in the Great Compline of the Annunciation. “God is come among men; he who cannot be contained is contained in a womb. The timeless enters time.”
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