Mary, Mother of GOD
By Ryan Hicks
On January 1st, 2019, we will celebrate Mary's Divine Motherhood. However, since I grew up as a Protestant, I must admit that I was hesitant to refer to Our Lady as "Mother of God" for quite some time, even after I was beginning to consider converting to Catholicism.
The Bible verse which helped to change my mind was found in Luke's Gospel, when St. Elizabeth says "And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? " (Luke 1:43).
The teaching of Mary’s “Divine Motherhood” was proclaimed as infallible dogma at the Council of Ephesus (431 AD). The Council held that Mary was to be known as “Theotokos” or “God-bearer” instead of “Christotokos” or “Christ-bearer.” The heretical bishop Nestorius believed that Mary only carried Christ’s human nature in her womb. However, the Council overruled Nestorius by declaring that Mary did not give birth to simply “a human nature,” but rather, she gave birth to a divine person. Women do not give birth to “natures,” they give birth to persons.
When we call Our Lady “the Mother of God” or “Theotokos” we are affirming that the person Our Lady carried in her womb for nine months, Jesus Christ, was truly God incarnate.
In my short time as a Catholic, I have found that thinking of Our Lady as “the Mother of God” has helped me to focus on the reality of the Incarnation. It led me to appreciate Christ more fully as "the Word made flesh" in those nine months in Our Lady's womb. Additionally, Our Lady's motherhood extends to all the followers of Christ. As Our Lord tells the Blessed Virgin in the Gospel of John, “Woman behold your son." He then says to the Beloved Disciple (who is St. John, but who represents all of us), "Behold your mother” (John 19:26-27). In this simple sentence, Jesus is using the formula for adoption, meaning that his disciple is to treat Mary as his mother.
Therefore, this January 1st, 2019, let us do as the Ten Commandments say and honor our Mother!