Today we celebrate a special feast day in our Church, Mary, Mother of God. In honor of Mary we share with you a post about this feast day written by our friend and theologian Keith Berube.
At first, glance, the feast of Mary, Mother of God, may seem obvious. “Well of course,” one might say, “she’s the Mother of God,” and one might be tempted to leave it at that. But think about that dogmatic phrase: “Mother of God.” What are we saying? We are saying that this fourteen-year-old Jewish girl, a human person, is related biologically to the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. No other human person is related by blood to God! By becoming his Mother, she is brought into the family of the Three Persons of the Holy Trinity.
Yet she was brought into the family of the Holy Trinity, spiritually, even prior to the Annunciation. How spiritually? Because she is Immaculate and Full of Grace (“Full of Grace” capitalized, because “Full of Grace” is how the Angel names her), created so as to exist completely in unison with the Holy Spirit. As St Maximilian Kolbe said, Mary lives “one sole life” with the Holy Spirit; her spirit is only the Holy Spirit. Why was she created Immaculate? So she could be the Mother of God. That is, the Eternal Word would take flesh and blood from Immaculate Mary because what is proper for God is a human nature that is not tainted with original sin. Sure, God could have just appeared in an immaculate human nature as a full grown man; it’s within his power to do that! But instead he chooses a Mother—and in fact creates his own Mother—and grows within her as all human beings grow within their mothers. Thus he is like us in all things but sin, a divine Person (not a human person) who draws his human nature from Mary.
And he would not become man without her consent. We will never be able to thank Mary enough! No Mary, no Jesus. Would we be able to be one with Jesus without Mary? No. Would we go to Heaven without Mary? No, Heaven would still be closed, we would not be supernaturally alive in Christ without Mary becoming his Mother. No Mary means no Baptism, no absolution of sins in Confession, no Confirmation, no Eucharist (the Eucharist is Jesus). Without Mary, we are not formed into Christ… and this is more literally true than most realize!
How literal? Mary is Mother of the whole Christ. Jesus is the Head, and we are members of his Body. The whole Christ is the Head and Body both. When Mary said “yes” to being the Mother of God, she also became our Mother at the same moment and in the one consent. Pope St Pius X wrote something amazing in this regard (a little long, but worth quoting it all):
Wherefore in the same holy bosom of his most chaste Mother Christ took to Himself flesh, and united to Himself the spiritual body formed by those who were to believe in Him. Hence Mary, carrying the Savior within her, may be said to have also carried all those whose life was contained in the life of the Savior. Therefore all we who are united to Christ, and as the Apostle says are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones, have issued from the womb of Mary like a body united to its head. Hence, though in a spiritual and mystical fashion, we are all children of Mary, and she is Mother of us all. Mother, spiritually indeed, but truly Mother of the members of Christ, who we are. (Ad Diem Illum §10)
Because she is the Mother of God, she is our Mother as well, and she loves us as she loves Jesus. Does a mother carry only the baby’s head in her womb? Does a mother give birth only to the baby’s head? When she holds her baby, does a mother hold the head only…or does she love her baby from toe to the topmost hair? Yes!– she loves with her whole heart her whole child. And so what is true for Jesus is true for us: Mary loves each of us, the whole Christ, lavishing her love on every member and doing what a mom does: She kisses, she hugs, she cuddles, she snuggles, she feeds, she plays…with me and with you.
Ponder then these words, because when she spoke them Mary became Mother of God and Mother of you, the greatest moment for the world and each of us in particular: “Be it done unto me according to thy word.” How we should cherish these words! With them, Mary–knowingly, by the way–said “yes” both to the Incarnation and to you and I. When you’re having a bad day, remember this: Mary knowingly willed you by her “yes” to God. Never will we be able to love her as much as we should. Let’s ask Jesus then to give us his own Heart to love his and our Beloved Mary, now and in eternity.
Keith Berube is the author of Mary the Beloved. He teaches Theology and writing at Christ the Teacher College, and Theology, Mariology and also literature at Queen of Heaven Academy. He is currently studying toward a doctorate in Dogmatic Theology with a concentration in Mariology. Keith and his wife Pamela and live in Columbus, Ohio with their five children, a menagerie of pets, and coffee.