Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God

The Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God is celebrated on January 1st, the final day of the Christmas octave and a Holy Day of Obligation. The origin of this feast goes back to the 7th century in the Latin Church and honors Mary as the mother of Jesus Christ, God incarnate, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. The 8th day was also when Joseph and Mary brought Christ to be circumcised in the temple, and when he was given the name ‘Jesus’ which means ‘God Saves’. This feast fits well with the beginning of the New Year so that we may consecrate our year to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of all Christians.

Scott Hahn, founder and president of the St. Paul Center of Biblical Theology, is quoted saying, “The first Christians called Mary the ‘Mother of God’ without hesitation. There was scriptural precedent, and it seemed logical. If Jesus was God, and Mary was his mother, then that made her the Mother of God. That sort of logic depends on a principle called the ‘Communication of Idioms.’ According to that principle, whatever one says about either of Christ’s natures can be truly said of Christ himself. That’s because His two natures, the divine nature and the human nature, were united in Him. He is one divine person.

In the fifth century, however, some people raised the same objections to the title that many non-Catholics raise today: They argued that the title ‘Mother of God’ implied that Mary was the ‘originator of God.’ Those objectors said that they could accept the title ‘Mother of Christ,’ but not ‘Mother of God.’ At the heart of those objections, however, was an objection to the unity of Christ’s two natures. Mary, they claimed, gave birth only to Christ’s human nature, not his divine nature. The Church, led by Pope Celestine I and St. Cyril of Alexandria, disagreed. As St. Cyril pointed out, a mother gives birth to a person, not a nature. Accordingly, Mary gave birth to Jesus Christ, who was and is a divine person. Although Mary did not ‘originate’ or ‘generate’ God, she did bear Him in her womb and give birth to Him. She was God’s mother.

The controversy over Mary’s title as ‘Mother of God’ was addressed in 431 A.D. at the Council of Ephesus. There, more was at stake than simply defending Mary’s title. The Christian teaching about Christ’s two natures was the real issue. The Church wanted to settle one question: Was Jesus one person or two? Rejecting the teaching of the heretic Nestorius, the Church declared that Jesus is one divine person, with two natures—his mother’s human nature and his Father’s divine nature. Mary did not give Jesus his divine nature or his divine personhood—those He possessed from all eternity as the only begotten Son of the Father. But she also didn’t just give Him His flesh: She gave birth to the whole person. She gave birth to Jesus Christ, both God and man. That is what we confess every time we say the Apostles’ Creed”.

Scott Hahn continues to say, “Calling Mary ‘Mother of God’ states a truth that must be stated in order to protect an essential truth about Christ. In a similar way, that’s what all Mary’s queenly predecessors did for their sons. One of the three essential tasks of the Queen Mother was to be a sign of her son’s legitimacy. She was the link between his father, the former rightful king, and her son, the present rightful king. Likewise, Mary as the virginal ‘Mother of God’ is the link between her Son’s humanity and divinity. She is the sign that He is both God and man”.

New Year resolutions are made and broken just as fast as they are made. We usually want to exercise more, eat less, spend less, get more sleep, etc…Resolutions should be those improvements we can make in our lives that really can change us, not just physically, but spiritually. Here is a small list of resolution ideas for spiritual growth taken from the Benedictine Sisters of Florida:

10 Resolutions for a More Wholesome Life 

  • You shall not worry. It’s unproductive.
  • You shall not be fearful. Most things we fear never happen anyway.
  • You shall not cross bridges before you come to them.
  • You shall only handle one problem at a time.
  • You shall not take problems to bed. They make poor bedmates.
  • You shall not borrow other people’s problems.
  • You shall not try to relive yesterday. Focus on what is happening right now and be happy now!
  • You shall be a good listener because some people do know more than you do.
  • You shall not become bogged down by frustration, for 90 percent is rooted in self-pity.
  • You shall count your blessings including the small ones.

I wish everyone a very beautiful 2022!

May God Bless You and Keep You! May His Light Shine Upon You! May the Divine Assistance be always with You!

The information in this post was taken from: St. Paul Center of Biblical Theology