Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God (2014)

Last Thursday, on Christmas, we focused on the infinite love that God has for each of us and all of us.  He became one of us and our “soul felt its worth,” to quote the verse in O Holy Night.  This Thursday, we consider another of God’s many gifts to us, the gift of a Mother, Mary the Mother of God and our Mother[1].

We know, if not quite understand, the theology. It is a mystery, after all. The Second Person of the Blessed Trinity became one of us by assuming a human nature. This happened when the Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary. Mary is the mother of the human nature of Jesus not the divine nature. Nature answers the question “What? What is Jesus?” with, “He is human and Divine.”  But Jesus is one person, not two people. Person answers the question, “Who?  Who is Jesus?” with, “He is the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity.” Mary as mother of the human nature of the Lord, is mother of the one person of Jesus, therefore, she is Mother of God. That is what we mean every time we recite the Hail Mary and pray, Holy Mary, Mother of God.

Mary, is not just the mother of God, she is also our mother.  Jesus entrusted her to us and us to her on Calvary when he told St. John to behold his mother and Mary to behold her son.  St. John represented the faithful disciple of the Lord.  He represented you and me.

But what does it mean when we say that Mary is our mother?  A mother nurtures life. A woman’s body is built to nourish a baby.  Her nurturing does not end when the baby is weaned.  As the child grows she finds new ways to care for her child.  Mary nurtures us.  She does this by leading us to her Son, the Bread we need to sustain our spiritual lives. “Bake us some bread, O Mary, O Mary, bake us some bread, we need to be fed,” the children sing in the Advent hymn, The Baker Woman.

A mother continually teaches her child.  Most of us learned to walk while our mothers held our arms.  Our mothers did most of the work teaching us to talk.  More important, most of our mothers taught us our first prayers. They taught us about God and how much we need Him in our lives.  Mary teaches us.  Her life is one of sacrificial love for God in union with her son.  Jesus always comes first, even when it is painful to observe how the world responded to his love with hate.  Simeon said to her in the Temple that a sword would pierce her heart, and it did, particularly as she stood under the cross.  But her union with her Son would not allow her to turn away from His sacrifice.  She joined him in sacrifice.  She teaches us not to turn away from the sacrifice of the Lord, but to join Him in sacrifice. Mary teaches us that Christianity demands that we empty ourselves of all so we can be thoroughly united to her son.

On this Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, we are reminded that Mary is our mother too.  We call out to her to protect us from the enemy who would destroy the life of her son within us and among us.  We ask her as her children, to nurture us, to teach us and always to love us. So does our devotion to Mary distract us from our devotion to Jesus?  No, it strengthens our devotion to God.  He gave us Mary to be our mother so that we might always be guided by her to her Son


[1] The Blessed Virgin Mary, The Mother of God, Solemnity, January 1st. Readings: Numbers 6:22-27; Galatians 4:4-7; Luke 2:16-21. 

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