Happy New Year! Today the Church celebrates the Feast of Mary, the Mother of God. Because the feast falls on a Saturday this year, it not a Holy Day of Obligation. In honor of today, I want to share with you a chapter from A Minute in the Church Volume II on the subject.
Mary – Mother of God
The Catholic Church refers to Mary as the Mother of God. In the Hail Mary prayer, we pray, “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners…”
Some people object to that title, saying that that would mean that Mary existed before God. That’s not what the Church teaches at all. Here’s the deal.
In the fifth century there was a bishop named Nestorius who claimed that Jesus did not have a human and divine nature. He objected to the Greek term “theotokos,” or God-bearer, for Mary. At the Council of Ephesus in 431 AD, Cyril of Alexandria argued that Jesus Christ was fully God and fully man; that He had two natures, human and divine. The Council agreed with Cyril and bestowed upon Mary the title of “Theotokos.” This is where we get the term Mother of God.
So you see, calling Mary the Mother of God is really just affirming the divinity of Christ. If we believe that Jesus is true God and true man, and Mary is His mother, then calling her the Mother of God just makes sense.
Hail, Mary, full of grace! The LORD is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.