The Catholic Defender: Mary, Mother of God
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.
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.
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.
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)
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).