The God-Bearer

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This month each year, we recall that wonderful device for prayer and learning the aspects of our faith that we call the rosary. This collection of beads was a tremendous aid to prayer and a sort of catechism for the illiterate of past centuries. It remains a source of blessing and instruction to the millions of us who pray it today.
 
This would be an appropriate time to recall that we honor Mary as the Mother of God, the Theotokos (Greek for God-bearer). After the time of the Apostles, some Christians questioned the divinity of Jesus, believing him to be only a super-man. But the truth of his divinity has endured at the core of our faith as we profess it every Sunday. The reality of his identity as God and human makes his mom the Mother of God. This did not come into question in any substantial way until the 17the century. That means that our forebears, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, reverenced the Scriptures and honored God’s choice of Mary for seventeen centuries before someone came along and attempted to rescript God’s plan.
 
To say that Mary is the Mother of God does not imply that she is the origin of God or precedes God or outranks God or is divine. It means only that Mary gave birth to Jesus and Jesus is divine as well as human. 
 
To use a parallel: Governor Abbott’s mother gave birth to him and so is the mother of the governor. She didn’t make him the governor or create him or cause him to be governor, but she is the vehicle through which he entered the world. In that capacity, she receives honor and respect.
 
God, not the Church, made Mary the Mother of God… (Luke 1: 31ff).
 
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (n. 495) teaches: Called in the Gospels "the mother of Jesus", Mary is acclaimed by Elizabeth, at the prompting of the Spirit and even before the birth of her son, as "the mother of my Lord" (Luke 1:44). In fact, the One whom she conceived as man by the Holy Spirit, who truly became her Son according to the flesh, was none other than the Father's eternal Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity. Hence the Church confesses that Mary is truly "Mother of God" (Theotokos).
 
Martin Luther wrote: She became the Mother of God…on this there follows all honor, all blessedness and her unique place in the whole of mankind, among which she has no equal, namely, that she had a child by the Father in heaven. Hence men have crowded all her glory into a single word, calling her the Mother  of God.

Fr. John Keller, PastorComment