Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God:
She Whose Heart Beat Next to His
Through the power of the Holy Spirit, she became the virgin mother of your only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who is for ever the light of the world. Mary represents, as it were, the maternal aspect of God, not only because her Son is also the Son of the Father, but because the Holy Spirit, through whose power she conceived, took up his dwelling in the Word made flesh.
This mysterious relationship between Mary and the Holy Spirit, who made her virginity fruitful, manifests another maternal aspect of the Father, namely, his merciful love. The maternity of Mary is not therefore something purely functional; she is an authentic icon of the mystery of the Trinity. As the Father from all eternity generates the Son in the love of the Holy Spirit, so Mary, in the flesh, generated the same eternal Word by the power of the Holy Spirit. (EWTN.com/library/MARY/SOLMARY.HTM)
What amazing grace we have just celebrated with this feast, but do we understand what Mary’s divine maternity means for our daily lives?
Mary’s Immaculate Conception in the womb of Anne paved the way for her divine maternity, and our salvation! The God Who created us out of the overflowing abundance of His love, with free will, responded to the sin of Adam and Eve with an even greater love, His mercy, His plan for our salvation and restoration of the human family to a much higher life, utter communion with Him by way of adoption into His own Trinitarian Love Life.
The new Adam would be His own Son who would enter our world to open wide the very heart of God and lay it bare upon the straw of our need, offering Himself to every hunger in our being, begging only to be received and loved in return so the circle of life could be complete. And beside the Son would be the new Eve, His Mother, on whom He would bestow every gift His Love could fathom that was worthy of Him, and from every fiber of her being she would feed us the sweet milk and honey, the True Manna of divine life that she carried so dearly within her, that Bread of Life that would lie on our altars waiting to be devoured, lovingly, so it might consume us into Himself and His Triune glory.
The Scriptures put these words in the mouth of God: “Even if a mother should forget her child, I will not forget you.” But in Mary God has fashioned a Woman after His own heart, a Mother who will never forget us. She is the feminine side, the maternal aspect of the Father’s love.
She, whose heart would beat next to His in Emmanuel, the God made flesh in her womb, would know His secrets and would plead for us with her Son as no other can. So delighted was He in her that He had granted her power greater than any other Queen in any other kingdom. She would be the Queen of Queens who sits at the right hand of the King of Kings in the eternal kingdom, the Queen whose every plea before the King would be granted, so great is her favor with Him.
This unique vocation to divine motherhood is a singular privilege given to Mary alone and sets her apart from all other women, all other creatures. She is the icon of the Trinity because in her is made manifest the same love exchange that is the inner life of the Triune God Himself. As the Father begot the Son in the love of the Spirit between them, so in Mary that same Son would be generated, at the will of the Father, by the power of that same Spirit who would unite her to their Triune selves in an intimacy no other creature can imagine or share. She brings the love of the Trinity to flesh on our earth and in our hearts as she shares the Indwelling Lord of Creation and Redemption with us for our sanctification, always from within, in that Divine indwelling Presence.
In the message of Our Lady of America given to Sr. Mildred Marie Neuzil, (Diary, pg. 24), Our Lady calls herself the “Mother of the Sacred Humanity” which speaks to this wedding feast of heaven and earth, the Divine wed to the human, that has taken place in her womb in the person of Emmanuel Who gives us entry into that Trinitarian flow of life and of love.
“I am the Mother of the sacred humanity, and it is my special work as co-redemptix of the human race to help souls reach the sanctity of the Father in eternal union by showing them how to put on Christ, to imbibe His Spirit, and thus become one with Him”.
When Mary said “fiat” to God’s plan for man’s salvation, she opened for us this New Covenant of God’s love and mercy, identity and union with Him and His tenderness, doing away with the Old Covenant of law and justice. By God’s choice she has a key to His Heart and so often opens doors into His kingdom that might otherwise never be opened.
Although Mary is the Mother of God because she gave flesh to the Son of God, she is not mother of the Father. She is a daughter of the Father, chosen from all eternity for this role of motherhood of the Son so the invisible God might reveal Himself to us in visible form. Mary is not mother of the Holy Spirit, but Spouse of the Spirit for it is He, not man, who conceived the Word of God within her. In this divine espousal Mary mirrors for us the new supernatural order of grace, for Jesus is born of her, not by way of human generation in the natural order, but by way of supernatural generation in the power of the Holy Spirit. We, too, are called to this holiness of union with the Three Divine Persons, as adopted children of the Father through the grace the Son won for us, transformed into His image by the power of the Holy Spirit which lifts us into God’s own glorious way of living.
The feast of the maternity of Mary, Theotokos, the God-bearer, had been celebrated in the early Roman Church on January 1st to replace the pagan feast of New Year which was dedicated to the god, Janus. The feast shifted and for some time was celebrated on October 11th. With the liturgical reform after Vatican II, Pope Paul VI restored it to January 1st as the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. It is most fitting that the New Year should begin honoring the Mother of God, she who brought us the very author of Life itself, our Savior. It is most fitting the year should begin as the Scriptures do, with the promise of a Redeemer born of a woman who would crush the head of the ancient serpent, and end with the woman of Revelation who brings forth her Son who will save His people from the seven headed dragon of evil. It is most fitting likewise that Pope Paul VI should make this first day of the New Year, that honors Mary’s divine motherhood and the beginning of our redemption, also a world day of peace, for it is she who gave us the Prince of Peace, the only One who can bring us lasting peace, the peace that is the fruit of union with the Indwelling God.
(Notes taken from Wikipedia.org/wiki/Solemnity_of_Mary, 12/10/2008)
Dogmas are defined when there is heresy and false teaching within the Church and the world. The dogma of the Divine Maternity of Mary and her spiritual motherhood of the Church was defined by the Council of Ephesus in 431 A.D. to refute the Nestorian heresy which denied the divinity of Jesus and his true humanity, which would also then deny Mary’s true motherhood of the man Jesus and of the divine person of Jesus as the Son of God, Second Person of the Holy Trinity. The Council stated:
If anyone does not confess that the Emmanuel (Christ--God with us) in truth is God and that on this accord the Holy Virgin is the Mother of God (Theotokos- -God-bearer) since according to the flesh she brought forth the Word of God made flesh – let him be anathema.
(Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, Dr. Ludwig Ott, pgs. 196-199) and (Cathechism of the Catholic Church, pg. 125)
Having born the Second Person of the Trinity in her very flesh, Mary is nearest the Triune God than any other and sits at the right hand of the Son of God upon His heavenly throne. She is truly the Queen-Mother who intercedes for her people and whom the King of Kings will not refuse. But, she is always more Mother than Queen; she was given to us, through Jesus, precisely to be our mother, to show us God’s tender side, a wound He Himself placed in His heart that He will not heal in order to leave it exposed to our need. This wound in His side is Mary, Mother of Divine Mercy Himself who comes to hide us beneath her mantle and press us near her heart so close to His, and sometimes sneak us in through the back door of His kingdom.
In a May 5, 1957 letter, Sr. Mildred Marie Neuzil speaks of Our Lady of America’s appearance to her as “Mother of Mercy.”
Our Lady showed herself to me today as the Mother of Mercy. With her arms extended, her blue mantle affording a safe refuge for the sinner, she said,
“I am the Mother of Mercy. Under my mantle I will hide my children. The justice of God will not reach them if they seek refuge beneath the protection of my mercy. My Son gives to me all those souls who come to me with confidence, calling upon my aid. Their salvation is in my hands. I will obtain for them the necessary graces to save their souls.
“Come to me, poor suffering and frightened ones. I am your Mother. Never will I forsake you. Only come to me with a wholehearted and loving trust. Place your souls into my keeping. I am that faithful Mother who never forsakes her children. Honor me by your confidence and love. This I desire and ask of you, my poor children. Do not deny the wishes of your Mother.”
Who can hear such words and not run, run to such a Mother and bid her hide us under her mantle and be our refuge from every evil that besets us? O Mother of Mercy, we come to you. We know you will never forsake us. We place all our confidence and all our trust in you, O Mother, Mother of Mercy
©Sisters of the Indwelling