Father Carlos J. Gallardo, offers Exaudi’s readers this article on the Solemnity of Holy Mary Mother of God, celebrated on January 1.
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On January 1, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Holy Mary Mother of God. It’s the first Marian feast, which appeared in the Western Church around the 4th century. In the Hispanic-Mozarabic liturgy, this feast was celebrated on December 18 with the Holy Mary of Hope. Mary’s maternity is obviously united to hope. She is Mother of our Hope. She gives birth to the hope of peoples, Christ the Lord, Prince of Peace.
However, what does it mean that Mary is the Mother of God? From the beginning of our faith, the Church has lived this mystery in fulness. It was in the 5th century that Mary as Mother of God was questioned. Nestorius, Patriarch of Constantinople, affirmed the following errors: that there are two different persons in Jesus, one divine and the other human. That these natures are not united. Therefore, Mary is not the Mother of God. He also denied that Jesus was a Divine Person. The People of God reacted forcefully in face of the denial of Mary’s divine maternity and asked the Holy Father and the Bishops for the Church’s answer. This happened in the Council of Ephesus in 431. The doctrine referring to Mary is totally united to that of Christ; therefore, to confuse one is to confuse the other. Consequently, when the Church defends Mary’s divine maternity, she defends the Divine Person of the Son and vice versa. Here is the text of the Council of Ephesus, which defines this truth of faith always believed by the Church:
“As we do not say that the nature of the Word, transformed, became flesh, but neither that it was transmuted in the whole man, made up of soul and body but, rather, that having united the Word with himself, according to hypostasis or person, the flesh animated by a rational soul, became man in an ineffable and incomprehensible way, and was called Son of Man, not just by will or complacency alone, but neither by the assumption of the person alone, and that the natures that come together in true unity are different, but that from both only one Christ and Son results, not as if the difference of the natures was destroyed by the union, but because the divinity and the humanity constitute for us, rather, only one Lord and Christ and Son by the ineffable and mysterious concurrence in the unity . . . because, firstly, a common man was not born of the Holy Virgin, and then the Word descended on Him, but that, united from the maternal womb, it is said that He subjected Himself to a carnal birth, as one who makes his own the birth of his flesh . . . Thus [the Holy Fathers] had no objection in calling the Holy Virgin Mother of God.”
But, from this truth of faith, what can we extract for our spiritual life?
At the moment of the Incarnation, Mary received the vocation to be Mother of the Lord. And, at the moment of the Cross, of Calvary, she received the mission to be Mother of all of humanity. Therefore, we cannot look away from the mystery of Mary because She takes us to the mystery of Christ and, at the same time, the mystery of Christ takes us to the mystery of Mary. In keeping with this principle, we can experience Mary as:
Mother: She is Mother of Christ and our Mother. She gave birth to the Light of the world. Hence in Her and by Her, all the promises are fulfilled. She is Mother of Hope as the hope of humanity sprang from her womb. Every small child, when it is afraid when it looks for security when it needs something, goes to its Mother. Let us not fail to go to Mary in every contradiction and let us call her MOTHER!
Teacher: Because of her mission as Mother, Mary also becomes for us All of us, when small, learned to talk and to take our first steps by the hand of our mothers. In fact, we speak of a “mother tongue,” that is how we call the language we learned at home, in our childhood. In the spiritual life, we also need to learn the virtues, learn to have a good heart, learn from Jesus. No one as Mary can teach us this way. Let us join her school! Let us learn about Jesus with and in Mary.
Virgin: It is more striking that God wished to be born of a virgin Mother. He wished to stress that nothing is impossible for God, and He can make a virgin (seemingly infertile) give fruit. The virtues of chastity, purity, modesty are not virtues that are fashionable today. However, the Lord makes them very fruitful. To learn to look at others cleanly (also in marriage), use a language without stridency and healthy, use audio-visual means far from the danger of converting the body and the sacred value of sexuality into something trivial, the purity of intention and of the heart are a treasure. They are a gift that Mary, Mother, and Virgin, wants to grant us. Let us approach Her! Let us. Ask for it with faith! She wants to grant it to us.
May this New Year that we begin by Mary’s hand be a Marian year, a year with Her, a year lived in the innermost depth of her Immaculate Heart.