Marian Mondays is a weekly post focusing on Our Blessed Mother, Mary, Queen of Heaven and Earth. In this post, we explore her life, her special mission, her sanctity, and the Biblical bases for the beliefs of the Church.
In our last Marian Monday post, we began an exploration of the term “Theotokos,” meaning God-bearer, or Mother of God. We read the words of Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, who proclaimed that Mary was Theotokos—both the Mother of Jesus, and the Mother of God. As you may recall, at that time, there was a schism within the Church, with some insisting that Mary was the Mother of Jesus (that is, the mother of His human nature), but not the Mother of God (that is, the mother of His Divine nature). Saint Cyril wrote: “Mary, Mother of God, we salute you. Precious vessel, worthy of the whole world’s reverence, you are an ever-shining light, the crown of virginity, the symbol of orthodoxy, an indestructible temple, the place that held him whom no place can contain, mother and virgin. Because of you the holy gospels could say: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”
Saint Alexander, bishop of Alexandria, described Jesus, as "having taken in truth and not in appearance a body from the Theotokos, Mary."
St. Basil stated: "I believe in one God the Father Almighty; God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Ghost; I adore and worship one God, the Three. I confess to the economy of the Son in the flesh and that the holy Mary, who gave birth to Him according to the flesh, was Mother of God (Theotokos)."
“If anyone does not believe that Holy Mary is the Theotokos, he is severed from the Godhead. If anyone should assert that He passed through the Virgin as through a channel, and was not at once divinely and humanly formed in her (divinely, because without the intervention of a man; humanly, because in accordance with the laws of gestation), he is in like manner godless. If any assert that the Manhood was formed and afterward was clothed with the Godhead, he too is to be condemned....If any introduce the notion of two Sons, one of God the Father, the other of the Mother, and discredits the Unity and the Identity, may he lose his part in the adoption promised to those who believe aright. For God and Man are two natures, as also soul and body are, but there are, not two Sons or two Gods.”
"For in the first place no common man was born of the holy Virgin; then the Word thus descended upon him; but being united from the womb itself he is said to have endured a generation in the flesh in order to appropriate the producing of his own body. Thus (the holy Fathers) did not hesitate to speak of the holy Virgin as the Mother of God.” Continuing, “If anyone does not confess that God is truly Emmanuel, and that on this account the Holy Virgin is the Mother of God (Theotokos), for according to the flesh she gave birth to the Word of God by birth, let him be anathema… The Fathers did not hesitate to call the blessed Virgin the Theotokos and this was certainly not because of the nature of the Word or the divinity had its origin in her but because it was from her that the sacred body was born, endowed with a rational soul to which the Word is united to the point of forming one only person."
"The glorious and holy Mary, ever a virgin, is in a real and true sense Mother of God." (Pope John II)
"If the son of the Blessed Virgin Mary is God, certainly she who bore Him should rightly and deservedly be called Mother of God. if the person of Jesus Christ is one and divine, surely Mary is not only mother of Christ, but should be called Deipara, Theotokos." (Pope Paul IV, 1931).
In our next post, we will look at why denying that Mary is the Mother of God, is denying the Divinity of Jesus Christ. That is why calling Mary the "Mother of Jesus" and refusing to call her "Mother of God" is to diminish Jesus as well as Mary, for it is a denial that Jesus is truly or fully God.
Why pray the Rosary every day for a year?
Each time the Blessed Virgin has appeared-- whether it be to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes; to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at Fatima; or to Mariette Beco at Banneux-- she has asserted the importance, saving grace, and power of praying the Holy Rosary on a daily basis. Based upon her words, the Rosary is penance and conversion for sinners, a pathway to peace, an end to war, and a powerful act of faith in Jesus Christ. Pope Paul VI presented the Rosary as a powerful means to reach Christ "not merely with Mary but indeed, insofar as this is possible to us, in the same way as Mary, who is certainly the one who thought about Him more than anyone else has ever done."
To show us how this is done, perhaps no one has been more eloquent than the great Cardinal Newman, who wrote: "The great power of the Rosary consists in the fact that it translates the Creed into Prayer. Of course, the Creed is already in a certain sense a prayer and a great act of homage towards God, but the Rosary brings us to meditate again on the great truth of His life and death, and brings this truth close to our hearts. Even Christians, although they know God, usually fear rather than love Him. The strength of the Rosary lies in the particular manner in which it considers these mysteries, since all our thinking about Christ is intertwined with the thought of His Mother, in the relations between Mother and Son; the Holy Family is presented to us, the home in which God lived His infinite love."
As Mary said at Fatima, "Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne."