The Catholic Defender: Mary, Mother of God
In order to shape America for the next generation we must be willing to defend our holy Catholic Faith and not become reclusive.
Mary’s divine motherhood broadens the Christmas spotlight. Mary has an important role to play in the Incarnation of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity.
She consents to God’s invitation conveyed by the angel (Luke 1:26-38).
Elizabeth proclaims: “Most blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Luke 1:42-43, emphasis added). Mary’s role as mother of God places her in a unique position in God’s redemptive plan.
Everywhere it seems that somebody is busting out with some new order pushing an agenda.
Without naming Mary, Paul asserts that “God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law” (Galatians 4:4). Paul’s further statement that “God sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out ‘Abba, Father!’” Helps us realize that Mary is mother to all the brothers and sisters of Jesus.
God’s creative plan. God’s “first” thought in creating was Jesus. Jesus, the incarnate Word, is the one who could give God perfect love and worship on behalf of all creation.
As Jesus was “first” in God’s mind, Mary was “second” insofar as she was chosen from all eternity to be his mother.
The precise title “Mother of God” goes back at least to the third or fourth century.
In the Greek form Theotokos (God-bearer), it became the touchstone of the Church’s teaching about the Incarnation.
The Council of Ephesus in 431 insisted that the holy Fathers were right in calling the holy virgin Theotokos.
At the end of this particular session, crowds of people marched through the street shouting: “Praised be the Theotokos!”
The tradition reaches to our own day. In its chapter on Mary’s role in the Church, Vatican II’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church calls Mary “Mother of God” 12 times.
Yes, it is a challenge today for the Christian. But we are not to jump underneath the bed hiding hoping that this will all go away? No, we must be willing to confront it by every legal means necessary. 1 our of every 4 Americans are Catholic.
We do hold a lot of clout if we are willing to use it. 1 out of 10 Americans are statistically a former Catholic. We have a great need to be an outreach to them calling them home. That is what Jesus wants us to do. We are called to radically transform our Nation as the Lord transforms our hearts.
If we did this, the whole debate about Christmas would go away, we would meet head on the challenges of the Secular Humanist in taking over our Schools and higher places of learning.
We have to be willing to put out the effort, our Shepherds must be willing to lead without compromise.
We have a lot of in-house cleaning, Notre Dame caving in to Obamacare is a prime example, but we must walk by Faith and not by sight.
Apologetics is equally important, truth matters, it should never be bargained or compromised but should always be a position of strength.
The strength of the Catholic Church is it’s foundation. That is it, pure and simple. If Jesus Christ was not the true founder of the Church and the Papacy was truly not established by him then everything falls.
That would include all the anti-Catholic groups out there because if truth was merely an opinion of any group, that holds little in the arena of public debate.
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life”, He is the truth, we must be solid in this truth. That is the Catholic Faith, we must be willing to stand on this truth against the flood that is seeking to overturn everything decent and holy.
This has been kind of a prep talk, maybe a personal rant, but I felt the need to express that our Faith is not simply a part of the truth, it is THE Truth.
It is important to respond to those who challenge Catholic teaching because if we do not, if their attacks remain unchallenged, that becomes their accepted truth?
Once people get embedded there it is difficult to get them out of it, it is like being brain washed.
Many times I wished I could have been involved with a group before they became so entrenched.
One reason why there are so many Protestant denominations is because they can’t agree on the bible, it really seems that the only thing holding them together in the public arena is their union against Catholics.
Have you ever seen that before, Protestants ganging up on a Catholic who would otherwise disagree with each other? We see that a lot on Facebook and the internet.
I served in the United States Army for more than 26 years, during that time, I was deployed multiple times to Iraq and the Middle East. While deployed to Iraq, one Sunday morning, I got up and got myself together preparing to go to Mass at the Division Chapel.
I had to make sure that all our obligations were covered and that gave me ample time to go to Mass at 10:30.
It’s about a 15 minute walk to the Division Chapel but this particular morning, I became excited about the news of a High positioned Lutheran, Francis Beckwith’s re-conversion to the Catholic Faith.
I wanted to report this great news to the congregation. For me, the news of Francis J. Beckwith’s returning to the Catholic Faith was huge. He was among the highest Lutheran leaders and highly respected among the Protestant Evangelical academics.
Francis Beckwith’s conversion to the Catholic Faith was like a shot heard around the world. Well, here in Iraq, I heard it and I was anxious to share the news about it.
So, I grabbed my weapon and my gear and I set off to the Chapel. By the time I arrived there, I was drenched, sweating profusely in this 100 plus heat, but it was worth it! I guzzled down a quick quart of water and prepared for Mass. At the end of Mass, Father would give me the opportunity to announce the upcoming events for the week.
We had RCIA that was currently continuing for many people kept coming who wanted to become Catholic. We had just received about 70 Soldiers for the Easter Vigil earlier in April.
Now I had several more Soldiers who were coming forward to be received into the Catholic Faith.
Many from my Battalion! We also had Bible Studies that I was conducting at our Chapel (Warrior Chapel) and at the Division Chapel.
It was at this time that I had the chance to tell everyone about Mr. Beckwith coming home to the Catholic Faith.
I had a number of them come up and asked me more about this when this young man came over to ask me a question. He had originally approached Father, but Father referred him to me.
I pulled him to the side and he asked me what an apostle was. I responded that an apostle was simple one who is sent. That is the textbook definition.
However, I explained that Christ sent his Apostles out into the world after preparing them for three years for the Great Commission. The Gentleman then identified himself as a “Nestorian” Christian who represented about 5% of the Iraqi Christians in Iraq. He wanted to challenge me on why the Catholic Church refereed to Mary as “Theotokos” meaning “Mother God”?
I responded with a question of my own, “What is the difference from referring to Mary as “Mother of God” as opposed to “Mother of my Lord”?
I then quoted Luke 1:42-44, “Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, ‘Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled”.
Notice that St. Elizabeth refereed to Mary as “blessed” twice during this exchange. Notice also that she refereed to Jesus as “Lord” in her womb as well as the word of the Lord.
Adoni was the word used to illustrate “Lord” referring to God. By this time, my Nestorian friend understood my meaning and with that, he had no further questions. He was interested in our bible studies from this point on.
The point of the Council of Ephesus was to defend who the person of Christ is. He is truly God and truly man, it is interesting to note in talking with anti-Catholics how they like to refer to this Catholic Council.
It is like they recognize that Jesus was born of Mary, but not His Divinity, only his humanity. In the same breath, they will believe that Jesus is God, at least those who are more orthodox.
The anti-Catholic ignores the constant apostolic tradition to a fault, they miss so much because they refuse to recognize the truth of the gospel handed down 2,000 years.
They choose to hold onto their own personal opinions and give the Holy Spirit credit for their varying opinions. So groups like the Christian Assemblies International wants to credit themselves by their opposition to Mary, Mother of God, Theotokos.
Lets take a quick look at some of the early heresies the Catholic Church contended with in the early days:
Adoptionaism: Belief that Jesus was born as a mere (non-divine) man, was supremely virtuous and that he was adopted later as “Son of God” by the descent of the Spirit on him. That sounds a lot like some of these anti-Catholics today, does it not?
Apollinarism: Belief that Jesus had a human body and lower soul (the seat of the emotions) but a divine mind. Apollinaris further taught that the souls of men were propagated by other souls, as well as their bodies.
Arianism: Denial of the true divinity of Jesus Christ taking various specific forms, but all agreed that Jesus Christ was created by the Father, that he had a beginning in time, and that the title “Son of God” was a courtesy one.
Docetism: Belief that Jesus’ physical body was an illusion, as was his crucifixion; that is, Jesus only seemed to have a physical body and to physically die, but in reality he was incorporeal, a pure spirit, and hence could not physically die.
Macedonians: While accepting the divinity of Jesus Christ as affirmed at Nicea in 325, they denied that of the Holy Spirit which they saw as a creation of the Son, and a servant of the Father and the Son. Does George Lujack come to mind?
Monophysitism: Belief that Christ’s divinity dominates and overwhelms his humanity, as opposed to the Chalcedonian position which holds that Christ has two natures, one divine and one human or the Miaphysite position which holds that the human nature and pre-incarnate divine nature of Christ were united as one divine human nature from the point of the Incarnation onwards.
Monothelitism: Belief that Jesus Christ had two natures but only one will. This is contrary to the orthodox interpretation of Christology, which teaches that Jesus Christ has two wills (human and divine) corresponding to his two natures. This one really challenges the Oneness groups because they could never understand that Jesus human will would be subjective to the Father’s will.
Nestorianism: Belief that emphasizes the disunion between the human and divine natures of Jesus. Nestorius’ teachings became the root of controversy when he publicly challenged the long-used title Theotokos (Bringer forth of God) for the Virgin Mary. He suggested that the title denied Christ’s full humanity, arguing instead that Jesus had two persons, the divine Logos and the human Jesus. As such he proposed Christotokos (Bringer forth of Christ) as a more suitable title for Mary.
Patripassianism: Belief that the Father and Son are not two distinct persons, and thus God the Father suffered on the cross as Jesus.
Psilanthropism: Belief that Jesus is “merely human”: either that he never became divine, or that he never existed prior to his incarnation as a man.
Sabellianism: Belief that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three characterizations of one God, rather than three distinct “persons” in one God.
Jesus made a great promise to His Catholic Church when He said, “And so I say to you, you are Peter (Kepa), and upon this rock (Kepa) I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18)
Looking at some of the heresies listed above, the kingdom of darkness has certainly tried to knock the Church down, and continues to do so.
Jesus said, “And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20) Think about that promise for a moment, does it make any sense that Jesus would abandon this promise and follow after someone else who establishes a new gospel based on their own opinions based on today’s Sola Scriptura?
Not at all.
Jesus said, “I have told you this while I am with you. The Advocate, the Holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name, he will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you”. (John 14:26) This one is huge, this means that the Church who Jesus entrusted the Faith to will have the Holy Spirit to keep it all in check. In other words, there will be no other authorized opinions outside of this apostolic authority.
Jesus warns, “Many false prophets will arise and deceive many; and because of the increase of evildoing, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who perseveres to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the world as a witness to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:11-14)
I love what Jesus said here, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the world as a witness to all nations”! Notice what St Paul states to the Church at Rome! “First, I give thanks to my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is heralded throughout the world…” The Catholic Church is a 2,000 year continuation, it is heralded throughout the world, it is His Kingdom being preached throughout the world and it is His witness to all nations!
The Catholic Church from the very beginning held the Virgin Mary with high honor for her role in Salvation.
It is like the opponents of Mary refuse to admit that she had anything to do with it? It is through her yes that the door was opened for all of us.
She truly is the Woman who is the Mother of the “rest of her offspring, those who keep God’s commandments and bear witness to Jesus”.
So, again, who am I going to recognize as the arbiter of truth, the Church founded by Christ 2,000 years ago or a group founded in 1973 making bold attacks on the people of God?
Looking again of the honor given to Mary, “Theotokos”, Mother of God, Pope Paul VI at the Second Vatican Council renamed the Feast celebrated 1 January from “Feast of the Circumcision” to “Mary, Mother of God”:
“In the revised arrangement of the Christmas season, we should all turn with one mind to the restored solemnity of the Mother of God.
This feast was entered into the calendar in the liturgy of the city of Rome for the first day of January.
The purpose of the celebration is to honor the role of Mary in the mystery of salvation and at the same time to sing the praises of the unique dignity thus coming to “the Holy Mother…through whom we have been given the gift of the Author of life.”
This same solemnity also offers an excellent opportunity to renew the adoration rightfully to be shown to the newborn Prince of Peace, as we once again hear the good tidings of great joy and pray to God, through the intercession of the Queen of Peace, for the priceless gift of peace.
Because of these considerations and the fact that the octave of Christmas coincides with a day of hope, New Year’s Day, we have assigned to it the observance of the World Day of Peace (Paul VI, Marialis Cultus, Feb. 2, 1974, no.5).