News Categories
(171)General Catholic Ramblings (17)Catholic Retailing Tips (4)lent (1)sales (1)Catholic Retailing Links (4)e-book (3)kindle (3)nook (101)Aquinas and More Catholic Goods Newsletters (2)easter (3)first communion (1)confession (1)imelda (1)mother's day (1)vatican collection (1)confirmation (1)saints (2)josemaria escriva (2)opus dei (2)there be dragons (1)altar missal (1)church supplies (1)roman missal (1)divine mercy (7)Catholic Reading Program (1)rosary (134)Catholic Media Reviews (1)bible (1)catechism (1)youcat (4)Should We Carry This Product? (8)Press Releases (1)e-reader (10)Aquinas and More Staff Picks (1)James' Picks (1)behind the counter (1)product reviews (1)staff picks (13)Chinese Persecution (3)Jeremy's Picks (1)Donna's Picks (2)Ian's Picks (2)Aline's Picks (1)Nicole's Picks (5)Catholic Author Interviews (1)CPSIA (77)The Liturgical Year (3)Family Life (1)12 days of christmas (1)feast days (15)Catholic Product Guides (14)Behind the Counter Catholic Radio Show (224)Behind the Catholic Counter (44)Behind the Catholic Counter Podcast (1)catholic choir book (1)oplatki christmas wafer (1)coffee (1)the theotokos (1)elizabeth ann seton (1)thomas aquinas (1)john bosco (1)didache bible (2)ember days (1)first communion gifts (1)gregory the great (1)symbolon (1)Technology (2)sacred heart (1)scapular (1)miracle of our lady of the snows (1)back to school gifts (1)nativity of the blessed virgin mary (1)saint thomas aquinas (1)clean fridge monday (1)clean monday (1)diaconate (1)how to measure for a cassock (1)san damiano cross (1)crucifix (1)divine mercy for moms (1)saint blaise (1)what should i do for lent? (1)laetare sunday (1)ash wednesday (1)our lady of lourdes (1)columba marmion (1)maximilian kolbe relics (1)bury the dead (1)saint cunegunda (1)pray like a carmelite (1)frances of rome (1)saint joseph (1)saint joseph table (1)how to be holy (1)easter vigil (1)way of prayer (1)way of perfection (1)our lady of perpetual help (1)peter and paul (1)saint ignatius (1)Dominicans (1)Saint Dominic (1)oplatki (1)blessing for an advent wreath (1)saint andrew (1)saint lucy (1)douay rheims bible (1)what is candlemas (1)Catholic Passion (2)First Communion Stories (1)first friday devotions
RSS Feed
News
Jan
1
If Mary Isn't the Theotokos, the Mother of God, Who is She?
Posted by admin on 01 January 2015 03:37 PM

On December 31 we usher in the New Year with late night champagne, half-baked resolutions and epic movies. But in the midst of this activity the Church asks us to celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God; a feast day of epic proportions and fulfilled covenants, a dogma that sheds as much light on the nature of Christ as it does on the nature of His mother.

 

Marian dogmas all depend on one thing.


The Church has defined four dogmas pertaining to Mary. They include Mary, the mother of God, her perpetual virginity, Immaculate Conception, and her assumption into heaven. It is because of the first Marian dogma that she has been privileged with the other three. Therefore, it is essential to understand the meaning and implications of this doctrine before attempting to explain the more complicated and controversial Marian dogmas.

 

Theotokos Hymn

Listen to a hymn to the Theotokos 


The doctrine of Mary as the mother of God finds its roots in the New Testament when the archangel Gabriel says to Mary, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God” (Lk 1:35). The Gospel of Matthew also affirms the doctrine in 1:23, “Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel (which means, God with us)”. This dogma was formally defined at the council of Ephesus in 431 when the Church gave Mary the official title Theotokos which literally means Christ-bearer.

 

An insufficient understanding of the Theotokos has caused some people think that if Mary is the mother of God, she must have somehow preceded God and given birth to Divine triplets. This vaguely resembles some pagan beliefs but it certainly is not the Christian understanding of Mary. In fact, this deduction shows a backwards approach the relationship between God and his mother. It is not Mary who entered eternity with the Incarnation; it is God who entered time. We can't elevate Mary to the level of creator because it was God who lowered Himself to be one of the creatures.

 

Theotokos, the Mother of God

 

What was Mary the Mother of?

We have to ask ourselves, “If not the mother of God, then the mother of whom?” It is essential that we define what we mean by “nature” and “person” when we speak of Jesus being one person with two natures. Nature is the permanent structure of a being and the source of all activities of that being whereas Person defines the self-conscience, rational being that answers the question “Who am I?” Put simply, nature is the source of actions, but person is responsible for them. In Jesus then there are two sources for His actions, one human and one divine, but it is His one person that manifests them. His relationship with His mother is like that of any mother/child relationship in that it is not nature-to-nature, person-to-nature, or nature-to-person. It is a person-to-person relationship. Just as we would never say, “My mother is the mother of my body,” so Jesus would never say it because Mary was not merely an incubator for a god-creature. John Paul II said, “Mary is the Mother of God’s Son, whom she virginally begot according to His human nature and raised with her motherly love, thus contributing to the human growth of the divine person who came to transform the destiny of mankind.”

 

Why Honor Mary?

When we honor Mary we are following the example of Jesus who honored His mother. Scott Hahn said that Jesus fulfilled every letter of the Law. The first of the Ten Commandments that pertain to one's neighbor is to honor one's mother and father. In Hebrew “to honor” means “to give glory”. It was not the Church that initiated the honor given to Mary; it was Jesus who bestowed great glory on her first.

 

Theotokos



Just as the New Year marks a time for new beginnings, so the feast of the Mother of God marks a new beginning for the world. History was split, the Old Covenant was fulfilled and we all became sons and daughters of God.


Read more »