Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God

The title of today’s feast is solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, we use that title of Mary every time we say the Hail Mary: Holy Mary Mother of God Pray for us sinners. But, what do we mean by it? Well, we certainly do not believe that Mary was a goddess. The understanding of today’s feast flows from and understanding of whom Jesus is, I mean, we believe that Jesus Christ is one person, with two natures, human and divine. There is only one Jesus, but he is both God and Man. At Christmas we celebrate the Eternal Word of God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, becoming One with us. Mary is the Mother of the Eternal One who has taken a human nature through her. She is therefore, the mother of God[1].

That’s the theological side of today’s feast, but let’s also looks at the spiritual side by focusing in on Mary. Mary is the model of a person of faith. She has an interior relationship with God that renders His Presence so real in her life that she conceived His Presence in her heart before she conceived His Presence in her womb. This is the way that St. Augustine explained Mary’s interior life.

In other words: faith is the integration of the spiritual and the physical, the invisible and the visible. Faith is an interior relationship with the Source of All There Is. Externally, faith is the way we deal with the world, I mean, through faith we make the relationship to the spiritual, physical. With faith we make the relationship to the invisible, visible. Through faith Mary made her relationship to God visible: The spiritual became physical. The Word of God became flesh and dwelt among us. The physical birth of the eternal Son of God is the result of Mary being thoroughly “full of grace.”

She is the best of us. She is the one with the most profound relationship with God, Mary ponders things in her heart, the scripture says. But, why does the Gospel of Luke mention this “pondering in her heart” over and over again? Perhaps, because the Gospel of Luke wants to emphasize that Mary is not just a simple and ignorant bystander to the event of salvation. She is quite aware that God is working His miracle of redemption for His people. The great American spiritual writer, Thomas Merton, put it this way: «Mary is in the highest sense a person because she does not obscure God’s light in her being. When we celebrate the Feast of Mary, the Mother of God, we celebrate Mary being a person in the highest sense. She is the one who allowed the spiritual to become physical without allowing herself to diminish His work, His very being, with her own physical limitations»[2].

Mary, the model of faith, the Mother of God, must be our model for the Christian life. If we really want to be people of God we have got to be sure that the focus of all we do as Christians is on God, not on ourselves.

No, Mary is not a goddess. Her faith life has shown us all how to bring God to earth and how to allow others to experience the spiritual become physical, the Word Become Flesh. She is the Mother of God, so today we ask her to help us to have the faith, humility and courage to allow God to become real in our lives, in our families and in our world.

May, Mary, Mother of God, teach us how to bring Jesus to a world that longs for Him ■

[1] Jan. 1: The Octave Day of Christmas: Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, The Mother of God – ABC. Readings: Num 6:22-27, Ps 67:2-3, 5, 6+8, Gal 4:4-7, Heb 1:1-2, Luke 2:16-21.
[2] Thomas Merton (1915 –1968) was a 20th century American Catholic writer. A Trappist monk of the Abbey of Gethsemani, Kentucky, he was a poet, social activist and student of comparative religion. He wrote more than 70 books, mostly on spirituality, as well as scores of essays and reviews. Merton was a keen proponent of interfaith understanding. He pioneered dialogue with prominent Asian spiritual figures, including the Dalai Lama, D.T. Suzuki, the Japanese writer on the Zen tradition, and the Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh. Merton is the subject of several biographies.

Ilustration: Circle of Andrea Mantegna (Possibly Correggio), Madonna and Child, c. 1505/1510, Samuel H. Kress Collection, 1939.1.266.

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris