From a Pastor

Mary, the Mother of God

The following is from St. Peter's Catholic Church bulletin in Hancock, Maryland. Father Joe Cosgrove is the Pastor. Used by permission.

May is traditionally the month of Mary. It is appropriate that we honor all mothers with Mother's Day in this month as well. Last week at Mass we blessed the mothers of this parish and had our annual May procession and crowning. We remember in May that Mary of Nazareth is a gift of God in the life of our community. We can say the same for the mothers whom He sent into our individual lives.

Father Karl Rahner, the greatest theologian of our age, was once asked why the devotion to Mary had gone down in the twentieth-century? "We have turned Jesus into a concept," he answered, "and concepts do not have mothers." From the earliest centuries of the Church, devotion to Mary has reminded us that our Faith teaches that Jesus Christ was truly and completely God and truly and completely a man. Our Savior could never become a "concept" for us. His divinity never overwhelmed or obliterated His humanity. The Mystery of the incarnation is about God and us. One of our Sunday Prefaces (Vll) seems to say it best. We address our prayer to our Creator Father: "You sent Him as one like ourselves, though free from sin, that You may see and love us for what You see and love in Christ." To understand the Blessed Mother is to understand how that mystery came down from Heaven to earth.

It is not surprising that the first title given to Mary by the Church is "Theotokos" (God Bearer). It happened at the Council of Ephesus in the year 431 A. D. The early Church had struggled for a century and a half with the mystery that Jesus Christ could be both divine and human. Arianism taught that Jesus was only a man and not God. Docetism taught that Jesus was merely an apparition or a spirit, who only seemed to be born, suffer and die. The controversy threatened to tear the Church apart. By naming Mary The Mother of God the Council Fathers settled what we would believe as a Church about Christ. That it was not a question of "either - or." Both realities, humanity and divinity, are one in Him. Contemplating Mary bearing her divine Son brings us to the unity of the mystery, which is at the heart of our new creation.

In orthodox icons Mary draws us in with her gaze and beckons us to contemplate her infant son Jesus. Jesus in turn points to the presence of the Father and the Spirit. These images tell us what we have always understood, that Mary is a portal by which we can enter the mystery of God through the Incarnation.

God Bless Always, Fr. Joe



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