In the fullness of time ...
"God sent his Son, born of a woman ... to redeem those who were under the law."
So at the beginning of the history of salvation is God's will to rescue the man, but also at the beginning of the story is a woman, the Mother, Mary. The beginning of the New Year is an opportunity to prepare plans and projects, to make decisions.
However, today's ceremony directs our attention toward motherhood, because at the beginning of every life is always the Mother. Therefore, certainly not without reason, the Church did establish on January 1 the Feast of the Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Saint John Paul II – Pope not without reason entrusted the new third millennium of Christianity to Mary, the Mother of the God-Man, and also the Queen of Peace.
On December 8th, 2000 he prayed at the Piazza di Spagna in Rome: "Mary Immaculate, we raise our eyes to you, and please, help us in our fight against evil and present our contemporary world to God. Keep us in your motherly care You Beautiful and Holy Virgin! Assist in the ascent of the new millennium, clad in the humility that made you chosen in the eyes of the Almighty. Let the fruit of the Jubilee Year will not be destroyed." These years of the new millennium cannot remain just a memory. Beginning of the New Year, may not be only an opportunity to enjoy our celebrations during the New Year's Eve festivities with champagne. But this is also undoubtedly an opportunity to start anew, under the care of That One, Whom God himself chose to be at the beginning, that is the Mother. Let's use Her intercession, because with Her motherly care, Her support and help at the beginning of each New Year we can really start anew not only a year but the whole of our life. We do not need to fear the Mother. She is the Mother of God, so what can we expect from Her?
Well, that is the beginning, because the first day of the New Year is dedicated to Her. I wish all of you to be accepted with your life in Her maternal care. I pray for you and I ask you to pray for her intercession on my behalf. Happy New Year - with Mary, THEOTOKOS - the Mother of God.
Mary, Mother of God
Is Mary the Mother of Jesus Christ? Yes. Is Mary the Mother of God? To answer that question we first have to answer the question "Who is Jesus Christ? Our purpose today is not to prove that Jesus is God or that Jesus is man. Given the numerous references in the Bible, as Christians, we take that for granted. Jesus Christ is both God and man. Our purpose today is to look at Jesus Christ in order to answer the question how can Mary be the Mother of God?
The Bible says that Jesus Christ, He who is God by reason of His divine nature, became man by taking unto Himself human nature. That is to say, God – a divine person – took unto Himself a human body with the same structure and functions of the human body which each of us knows so well.
He took unto himself a human soul, a human mind, human feelings and emotions, no different from those with which we are endowed with at birth. And when He did this, He did not thereby cease to be God. God, whose nature is entirely spiritual, into whose make-up nothing bodily enters, whose will power is omnipotent (that is to say all powerful, Almighty), whose mind is omniscient (that is to say all knowing) and whose life had no beginning and no end.
Jesus Christ is both God and man – As God Jesus Christ is infinite, omnipotent, omniscient and eternal. At the same time, Jesus Christ – as man is also mortal (as a human being he must eventually die), Jesus is limited in His physical powers, capable of fatigue and pain, subject to growth in bodily stature and human knowledge. The same as every other man in everything but sin.
This does not mean that His Divine nature became human or that the infallible mind of God became fallible, or that the immortal nature of God became subject to death. At the incarnation the divine was in no way changed into the human. It does mean though that a Divine person really possessed human nature with all of its limitations because a human being, Mary, was His mother.
But because these two natures, Divine and Human are possessed by the same person, Jesus Christ, then Mary who is Mother of His human nature, is rightfully called the Mother of Jesus Christ, and since Jesus Christ is God, she is rightfully called - Mary, the Mother of God.
Many, however, who speak freely of Mary as mother of Jesus, are hesitant to call her the Mother of God. They shouldn’t be. Otherwise they do not have a full understanding of the meaning of the incarnation. There is no good reason why a divine person, Jesus Christ, who is truly man, could not be conceived and born according to this human nature.
This does not mean that His mother Mary, like some goddess, would bring His divine nature into existence. It also does not mean that as the mother of a divine person, she existed before him. Christ told us that He existed before Abraham was born. As God, He is eternal; as man, He began to live a human life when Mary conceived Him. Mary did not exist before God.
Catholics get this information concerning Mary and Jesus – not from the Church teaching us as though the Bible did not exist, but rather from the Church teaching us the full significance of what the Bible says about Jesus and His mother Mary. About their relationship and what significance Mary has for us today.
Mary as the Mother of God has an important relationship to you and me in the world today. She is our Mother and as our Mother she continually intercedes for us and leads us to her Son Jesus Christ. Since the early days of the Church Christians have expressed Mary’s relationship to us by addressing her with the title “Our Mother”. This, of course, does not say that she was our mother in the natural sense of the term, but rather it is a real spiritual relationship.
Just as St. Paul in speaking to the Corinthians said “In Christ Jesus, through the Gospel, I have begotten you.” Mary could just as truthfully say to all of us “In Christ Jesus, through my consent to your redemption, I have begotten you”. She was associated in our regeneration by giving us Jesus Christ. And when Jesus Christ on Calvary said to Mary “Woman, behold your son” and to St. John “Behold your Mother” Jesus was proclaiming this truth.
Mary is our Mother. Christians have always considered St. John as representing in person all those who are redeemed and who look upon Mary as their “Mother”. And so this scene at the cross is really the origin of our devotion to Mary. Holy Mary, Mother of God, conceived without sin. Yes, conceived without sin and sinless throughout her life. Full of Grace. God’s Grace.
If you wonder why this freedom of sin at the outset of her life is so important and why Christians have always acclaimed her to have been immaculate and unstained, the reason is that she was sinless in order to be fit to become the mother of the Redeemer. Sinless, she was then worthy to be associated with the Son of God in a most intimate relationship. In Mary there was no shame of sin to reflect on her child. The flesh which the Holy One took from her as His mother was the flesh of one who had never been – in any sense – a sinner.
The absence of sin in Mary meant holiness – a holiness in which she steadily grew. When the time came for the angel of God to visit her, he would salute her as “full of Grace” and “blessed among women.” Never had a messenger from God addressed a human being in such language. There had to be a good reason. There are two important points which must be kept in mind in finding that reason. The first is that – God does nothing by chance or on the spur of the moment. The Eternal God simply does not act that way.
What God does in the world He has planned from the beginning of time.
God did not just happen to send an angel to a small Judean town looking for a nice Jewish girl whom He then selected to be the Mother of the Messiah - after taking a quick omniscient look over all the others and then making a quick decision – there she is – she’s the one. No, the Virgin Mary, was in His mind from the very beginning. When she came into existence it was to be as the Mother of God. God only needed her approval. It was the first and only time that a son got to choose his own mother.
The second point is that when God gives anyone a task to do, He also gives them the ability and wherewithal to do it right. In other words, God, by His grace, makes us fit to fulfill all that He calls us to do. We need only give our “yes” to God. God, then, who chose Mary to be Mother of Jesus the Messiah, gave Her the grace, the blessedness and the holiness that made her worthy of that great dignity. She was fit to be the Mother of God and to receive God Himself into her bosom. All that was needed was her assent. Mary said “Be it done unto me according to thy word” and the incarnation was achieved.
Mary is the mother of Jesus Christ. She is not the Mother of the Trinity but she is the Mother of Jesus. She is the Mother of God. As the Mother of God and as our Mother she continues to intercede for us in Heaven. She continues to lead us to her Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
May God, through the intercession of His Blessed Mother Mary, bless you abundantly in this new year.
Deacon Bernie Ouellette