Monday, December 31, 2012

January 1st, 2013 (Mary, Mother of God)

            One of the coolest parts of praying the Rosary is that the Mysteries help us meditate on the Gospel in the nutshell.  Think about it—the Mysteries begin with Jesus’ birth in the Joyful Mysteries, capture crucial aspects to His public ministry in the Luminous, share about Jesus’ passion, death and Resurrection in the Sorrowful, and conclude with Jesus’ resurrection.
            A few years ago I helped teach Totus Tuus to children and we taught them the Mysteries of the Rosary.  As I did I found myself asking a question.  Why, if the Rosary is about the story of Jesus, are the last two mysteries solely about Mary?  I mean, I know Mary is important, but at the time it seemed strange to think the culmination of the Mysteries was on Mary.
            What I failed to realize was that you cannot celebrate Mary without simultaneously celebrate Jesus.  It was Mary’s yes that brought Christ into the world and everything in her life pointed beyond herself.  What great humility for the Mother of God.  Yes, we can in fact call Mary the Mother of God, and it is this aspect of Mary we celebrate today.  Yet in so doing, we are actually saying something more about Jesus than Mary herself, and this is just how she would want it. 
In the early Church, a certain group of heretics—the Nestorians—rejected the title Mary, Mother of God.  They did so not because of anything about Mary, but because they did not believe that Jesus was actually God.  Yet we believe that Jesus, true God and true man, was born of Mary.  Thus Mother of God is a fitting title for our Blessed Mother.
Now if you want to get answers to parse how Mary is Mother of God while being a creation and daughter of God the Father, or how she relates to the Holy Spirit, you can enroll in a theological course.  For now it is enough to celebrate Mary as the Mother of God as we conclude our Christmas feast.

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