Skip to comments.Mary, the Mother of God (a defense)
Posted on 01/02/2010 3:07:57 PM PST by NYer
For this reason, sometime in the early history of the Church, our Blessed Mother was given the title "Mother of God." St. John Chrysostom (d. 407), for example, composed in his Eucharistic Prayer for the Mass an anthem in honor of her: "It is truly just to proclaim you blessed, O Mother of God, who are most blessed, all pure and Mother of our God. We magnify you who are more honorable than the Cherubim and incomparably more glorious than the Seraphim. You who, without losing your virginity, gave birth to the Word of God. You who are truly the Mother of God. "
However, objection to the title "Mother of God" arose in the fifth century due to confusion concerning the mystery of the incarnation. Nestorius, Bishop of Constantinople (428-431), incited a major controversy. He stated that Mary gave birth to Jesus Christ, a regular human person, period. To this human person was united the person of the Word of God (the divine Jesus). This union of two persons the human Christ and the divine Word was "sublime and unique" but merely accidental. The divine person dwelt in the human person "as in a temple. " Following his own reasoning, Nestorious asserted that the human Jesus died on the cross, not the divine Jesus. As such, Mary is not "Mother of God," but simply "Mother of Christ" the human Jesus. Sound confusing? It is, but the result is the splitting of Christ into two persons and the denial of the incarnation.
St. Cyril, Bishop of Alexandria (d. 440) refuted Nestorius, asserting, ''It was not that an ordinary man was born first of the Holy Virgin, on whom afterwards the Word descended; what we say is that being united with the flesh from the womb, [the Word] has undergone birth in the flesh, making the birth in the flesh His own..." This statement affirms the belief asserted in the first paragraph.
On June 22, 431, the Council of Ephesus convened to settle this argument. The Council declared, "If anyone does not confess that the Emmanuel is truly God and therefore that the holy Virgin is the Mother of God (Theotokos) (since she begot according to the flesh the Word of God made flesh), anathema sit." Therefore, the Council officially recognized that Jesus is one person, with two natures human and divine united in a true union. Second, Ephesus affirmed that our Blessed Mother can rightfully be called the Mother of God: Mary is not Mother of God, the Father, or Mother of God, the Holy Spirit; rather, she is Mother of God, the Son Jesus Christ. The Council of Ephesus declared Nestorius a heretic, and the Emperor Theodosius ordered him deposed and exiled. (Interestingly, a small Nestorian Church still exists in Iraq, Iran and Syria.)
The incarnation is indeed a profound mystery. The Church uses very precise albeit philosophical language to prevent confusion and error. Nevertheless, as we celebrate Christmas, we must ponder this great mystery of how our divine Savior entered this world, taking on our human flesh, to free us from sin. We must also ponder and emulate the great example of our Blessed Mother, who said, "I am the handmaid of the Lord; be it done unto me according to thy word." May we turn to her always as our own Mother, pleading, "Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen."
Once I heard a Priest say, "Imagine a husband saying 'I love you,' only once to his wife on their wedding day. Wouldn't she want that renewed often?" He made a good point. The mystery of the Mass is like that, in a way.
Christ told us to take the bread and wine "as often as you do it in remembrance of me."
That's a big difference - with the Mass, during the consecration, It is no longer bread and wine.
Read about the Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano. I think you'd find it interesting reading, if nothing else - especially the scientific test results.
This is not entirely accurate. The Church teaches we are saved by grace alone, and that faith and works are necessary for salvation.
I was trying to find the actual articles in the Catholic Catechism, but it's getting late, and I have to go to bed.
However, it does not say anywhere in the Bible that we are saved by faith alone, but it *does* say that faith without works is dead.
“We know from Scripture as well, that Jesus will forever exist in a glorified bodily form complete with the nail scars on his hands and feet.”
We know from Scripture that He appeared to the Apostles after rising from the dead and had the holes in his hands. He told Thomas to feel them. But where in Scripture does it tell you that Christ will forever exist with the nail scars, even in his glorified body?
Agreed. I don’t see why it is so confusing to people. Jesus was God. Mary was His mother. Therefore, Mary is the mother of God.
What some people don’t seem to get is that God decided to do this in this way. He could have just appeared in adult form and been the Messiah. But He came and sanctified the womb, the unborn, infancy, childhood, manhood. He sanctified the family by having a real mother. He wanted the whole of our existence to be blessed and holy. He made Mary a miraculous part of His story for a reason.
She is unique. And she was uniquely part of His plan for us. She enjoys a unique role to this day.
Of course she is the mother of God.
That doesn’t mean we are to worship her.
“Of course she is the mother of God. That doesnt mean we are to worship her.”
In all of history, there was only one Messiah. Only one God made Man. And only one human who gave life’s blood to that God made Man. Only one human who had the intense relationship with God that only a mother can. Surely you can agree that we are to do something different with Mary? She is like no other human ever and God Himself chose to use her as an integral part of His plan. Why?
Catholics just think these things through logically to the end. For thousands of years we’ve been pondering Mary’s role with the Holy Spirit as our guide to understanding.
>>>>Look to your holy icons and see the reverence with which the Orthodox hold Mary so dear. We differ concerning the Immaculate Conception, but otherwise, no.
Icons of Mary always include Jesus (unlike Roman statuary where Mary is sometimes by herself), but you’re right, Orthodox do “hold Mary so dear.”
This thread has been really interesting. I have a question though. After Jesus rose from the dead, appeared to the disciples, and then ascended into Heaven, how come the disciples did not instantly begin worshipping Mary? She was still among them was she not? If they believed that she was the “easy way” to the Way, the Truth, and the Life (Jesus), then why did they preach only about Jesus. Or did I miss Peter’s words about Mary’s “holiness” and her being our intercessor on Pentecost?
With charity, help FRiend ravenwolf understand what Scripture says about Mary.
Yes that's it. This 'where is it in the Bible' nonsense comes from those who think the Bible is God and not just words and actions of God. John wrote that all is not contained in the Bible.
Jesus [God] believed in teaching through people, both good and bad. The 'Bible' records He only wrote once in sand but He sent people to spread His word.
To those who believe Jesus is God, no proof is necessary and for those who don't believe Jesus is God, no proof is possible.
Ephesus affirmed that our Blessed Mother can rightfully be called the Mother of God: Mary is not Mother of God, the Father, or Mother of God, the Holy Spirit; rather, she is Mother of God, the Son Jesus Christ.
Nonsense...You can't separate God from the Holy Spirit from Jesus...They are one...If Mary is the mother of God, the Son, she would also have to be the mother of God the Father...And that's ridiculous...
And then that religion had Nestorius deposed and exiled...
Mary isn't worshiped at all...instantly or belatedly.
Congratulations: you agree with the Catholic Church!
How could you possibly have been a spiritual advisor as a Protestant and then as a Catholic???
Perhaps the Billy Graham Association did not see a need to punish him for his spiritual advancement.
If this surprises you, you should consider again that the vast majority of protestants do not hate the Catholic Church in ways we see evidenced on this thread.
contrary to what many protestants are being told, Catholicism does not teach works to get into heaven
You guys crack me up...
The disciples did not worship Mary for the same reason that we do not worship her, namely, she is not God.
Or did I miss Peters words about Marys holiness and her being our intercessor on Pentecost?
What you *did* miss is the fullness of the meaning of Cana.
How it really is:
The Virgin Mary is the Daughter of the Father, the Mother of the Son, and the Spouse of the Holy Spirit. Such is her relationship with the Holy Trinity. She is unique in all creation and played a unique role in salvation history.
If you find it difficult to wrap your mind around these mysteries, feel free to join the club. None of us will fully understand these things, because we are not God. But one thing we do know is that “the foolishness of God is wiser than the wisdom of men.”
A personal reflection, rather than Church teaching:
Mary has appeared to individuals world-wide, down through the ages, sometimes alone, and sometimes with Jesus, and no one who believes in the existence of these apparitions has ever believed that Mary is Divine. But apparitions are another subject.
Religious art sprung up, not as mere images or statues, but rather to point to some truth. To the present day, nothing has been/is created to give a message that Mary has a Divine nature, nor are they ever interpreted as such.
Some things are just common sense. I have pictures of my mother without my father, and in no way are they an insult to my father, nor do they diminsh who he was.