Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

1/15/2012 (4 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The Mother of God Calls us to be 'Bearers of God' for the whole world

There is a treasure found in the life example and message of the little Virgin of Nazareth. Mary, Mother of God is a virtual pilgrimage site inviting pilgrims to reflect on the mysteries of the faith, pray and encounter the most beautiful artwork from our history. Mary's "Yes" (Fiat) not only changed history - but reveals the meaning of the Christian vocation.

Eastern Christian icons, Catholic and Orthodox, usually depict the Child Jesus in the womb of Mary. They reveal a profound insight into the mystery of Mary and the mystery of the Church.

Eastern Christian icons, Catholic and Orthodox, usually depict the Child Jesus in the womb of Mary. They reveal a profound insight into the mystery of Mary and the mystery of the Church.

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

1/15/2012 (4 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Mary, Marian, Catholic, Catholic Online, Rosary, Marian devotion, Mother of God, Theotokos, piety, prayer, Deacon Keith Fournier


CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - Let me begin with a quotation from a Christian leader who is often not associated with honoring Mary: "Men have crowded all her glory into a single phrase: The Mother of God. No one can say anything greater of her, though he had as many tongues as there are leaves on the trees." It was Martin Luther, one of the Protestant Reformers, in his commentary on the "Magnificat".

From antiquity, Mary has been called "Theotokos", or "God-Bearer" (Mother of God). The term was woven into the liturgical worship and popular piety of the undivided Church of the first millennium. This title was a response to the early threats to 'orthodoxy' or the preservation of authentic Christian doctrine. 

A pronouncement of an early Church Council, The Council of Ephesus, in 431 A.D., insisted ". If anyone does not confess that God is truly Emmanuel, and that on this account the holy virgin is the "Theotokos" (for according to the flesh she gave birth to the word of God become flesh by birth) let him be anathema."

The reason for the Council's insistence on the use of the title was the preservation of the teaching of the Christian church that Jesus the Christ was - and is - both Divine and Human. The doctrine was "Christological", meaning that it had to do with Jesus Christ. No one has ever claimed that Mary gave birth to Christ's Divinity, but rather, that His human and divine nature could not - and cannot - be separated.

Not only was this truth under assault then, it is under assault now. The teaching lies at the heart of the Christian claim concerning the implications of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. It must be protected as the unique distinctive and contribution of Christianity.

Continued disagreements concerning this title, "Mother of God" throughout Christian history have led to a diminution in the role of Mary in some Christian circles. Subsequent reaction and counter reactions have made it all very complicated.

Sadly, this has impeded some Christians from grasping a deeper truth concerning the meaning of Mary's life, her response to God's selection and invitation, her role in the plan of salvation, her exemplary humility and her deference to God's Will - she is the type, the living blueprint, of the Christian vocation for all believers. She is a gift to be opened and received, given to us all by the Lord Himself. (John 19:26,27)

It is time to re- examine the deeper implications of the treasure that is found in the life example and message of the little Virgin of Nazareth in this critical hour in human history. Mary, Mother of God is a virtual pilgrimage site inviting pilgrims to reflect on the mysteries of the faith, pray and encounter the most beautiful artwork from our history. It will also become a place where we pray together, and grow together. 

Among the multiple references to Mary, the Mother of God, found in the writings of the early Church Fathers is one of my favorites from the Cappadocian Father, Gregory of Nyssa who died in 356 A.D:

"What came about in bodily form in Mary, the fullness of the godhead shining through Christ in the Blessed Virgin, takes place in a similar way in every soul that has been made pure. The Lord does not come in bodily form, for ´we no longer know Christ according to the flesh´, but He dwells in us spiritually and the Father takes up His abode with Him, the Gospel tells us. In this way the child Jesus is born in each of us."

The early Christians knew that Mary's "Yes" (Fiat) not only changed history -but reveals the meaning of the Christian vocation. Contemporary Christians need to understand this as well. During the praying of the Angelus while he was visiting Germany in 2011, Pope Benedict called the faithful to join their yes to the "Yes" of Mary:

"The Archangel Gabriel presents God's plan of salvation to the Virgin Mary, by which she was to become the Mother of the Redeemer. Mary was fearful, but the angel of the Lord spoke a word of comfort to her: "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God." So Mary is able to respond with her great "yes".

"This "yes", by which she accepts to become the handmaid of the Lord, is the trusting "yes" to God's plan, to our salvation. And she finally addresses her "yes" to us all, whom she received as her children entrusted to her at the foot of the Cross (cf. Jn19:27). She never withdraws this promise. And so she is called happy, or rather blessed, for believing that what was promised her by the Lord would be fulfilled (cf. Lk 1:45).

"As we pray this Angelus, we may join Mary in her "yes", we may adhere trustingly to the beauty of God's plan and to the providence that he has assigned to us in his grace. Then God's love will also, as it were, take flesh in our lives, becoming ever more tangible."

The Greek term Theotokos, "God-bearer" or Mother of God is still the most popular title given to Our Lady in the Eastern Christian Churches. It was affirmed in early Church Councils precisely because it confirmed the Christian claim about who Jesus Christ is - and who each one of us is invited to become as we cooperate with grace and live our lives not in the Church which is His Body.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church puts it simply," What the Catholic faith believes about Mary is based on what it believes about Christ, and what it teaches about Mary illumines in turn its faith in Christ." (CCC#487) The Catholic Catechism also reminds us,"Mary's role in the Church is inseparable from her union with Christ and flows directly from it."(CCC #964)

There is a way, a pattern that all men and women are invited into - not just once, but daily. It reveals the path to authentic peace and is the portal of the mystery of meaning itself. It is what Christian Scripture calls the "more excellent way", the way of love. Mary understood and walked this way with extraordinary humility. (1 Cor. 12:31) She shows us the pattern of love surrendered to Love.

The early Christians painted her image in the catacombs during their moments of fear, persecution and doubt? They found great inspiration from this little woman of great faith. In her "yes" they came to understand that ordinary people can change human history.

They were inspired to add their own "yes", their own "fiat" to hers. Justin Martyr and many other early Christian apologists found in her "fiat", her obedient "yes" to the angel, the undoing of the "no-I will not serve" given by the first woman Eve. They called Mary "The Second Eve", the mother of a new creation.

In her womb Mary carried the One whom Scripture calls the "New Adam" (1 Cor. 15:45). He was born from her as the first born of a new race of men and women who would find a new birth through His life, death and Resurrection. (1 Cor 15.27; 2 Cor 5.17; Col 1.15; ) The Redeemer now resides within, and lives through, all those who respond to the invitation of Love like Mary did.

Mary's choice, her response to the invitation of a God who always respects human freedom, is a singularly extraordinary event in all of human history. However, it is meant to be much more. It is an invitation to each one of us to explore our own personal histories and to write them anew in Him by exercising our own freedom by choosing the more excellent way of love.

Mary shows us the way to surrender to Gods loving invitations in our daily lives; a path, to living a life of surrendered love. When we live that way, Mary's way, Love Incarnate is revealed through each of us so that He can be given to others. We become "God Bearers."

We can become the tent and the ark within which God takes up His residence, comes to dwell, in our own age - which so desperately needs His saving presence. He comes to dwell in all men and women who say "Yes" to Him. "Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him." (John 14:23) We are invited to bear Jesus for others and invite them, through the waters of Baptism, into new birth in His Body, the Church. 

That is why Catholic Online, along with our sponsors, is pleased to offer "Mary, the Mother of God", a virtual pilgrimage site and repository of reflection, devotion, prayer and beauty. It is a place for all those who want to find Mary, and, in so doing, be drawn more deeply into a saving and transformational relationship with Her Son and Savior Jesus Christ.

After all, that was, is and will always be her mission, to bring the whole world to her Son. You can visit the site here Come back often! This virtual pilgrimage site will grow with regular additions intended to deepen our devotion and encourage our continuing conversion to Jesus Christ.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for May 2016
Universal:
Respect for Women: That in every country of the world, women may be honored and respected and that their essential contribution to society may be highly esteemed.
Evangelization: Holy Rosary: That families, communities, and groups may pray the Holy Rosary for evangelization and peace.



Comments


More U.S.

Captain James Cook wreckage discovered! Watch

Image of Legendary British explorer Captain James Cook's vessel is believed to have been discovered (John Webber).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Captain James Cook was a famous British explorer who commanded the HMS Endeavour from 1768 to 1771. Since it was intentionally sunk, its whereabouts fell into question - until now? LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to CNN, researchers from  the Rhode ... continue reading


You won't believe why this ICONIC WWII image is being investigated! Watch

Image of Two amateur historians raised questions concerning a service member in the image (Corbis).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Two amateur historians believe one of the men in the iconic Mount Suribachi image was misidentified, prompting a Marine Corp investigation. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The image, taken by the Associated Press' Joe Rosenthal, reveals the struggle six servicemen ... continue reading


Puerto Rico drowns in debt - What is the U.S. going to do about it? Watch

Image of Puerto Rico missed its first nearly $400 million bond payment (YouTube).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

U.S. territory Puerto Rico defaulted its first payment of nearly $400 million - so what is the territory going to do? LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Puerto Rico has suffered a recession for the past decade, resulting in the government borrowing money from foreign ... continue reading


ISIS kills U.S. Navy SEAL in violent attack Watch

Image of ISIS breaks Peshmerga lins to kill U.S. Navy SEAL (navysealsmuseum).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

A U.S. Navy SEAL was killed in the line of duty when ISIS forces pushed their way through a Kurdish Peshmerga line. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "It is a combat death, of course. And a very sad loss," U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said during an official ... continue reading


'It was an escape:' father of Scientology founder tells all Watch

Image of Ron Miscavige, the father of Scientology leader David Miscavige, opens up (20/20)

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Ron and Becky Miscavige escaped the California Scientology compound known as the "Gold Base" and have stepped forward to share their story. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Scientology is a quiet religion shrouded in secrets - many of which are believed to be ... continue reading


'Clown-in-Chief' Obama makes skit about retirement, but here's why we're not laughing Watch

Image of Obama thinks he's a comedian, but some matters are too serious to joke about.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

President Obama, in an act of self-depreciating humor, has made a SNL-style spoof about his retirement. While amusing at moments, we can't decide if the video is good, because to make it he had to take time away from issuing executive orders, or bad, because it must ... continue reading


CIA under fire for 'live tweeting' dramatic Bin Laden raid on 5 year anniversary Watch

Image of Though some patriots were pleased to see the tweets, several compared the CIA to ISIS and their propaganda videos.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The CIA celebrated the 5-year anniversary of Osama bin Ladin's death by posting "live tweets" of the raid that killed him. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - For those who don't have a Twitter account, the CIA posted a timeline of the raid on their website.The tweets ... continue reading


Athanasius, Defender of the Incarnation: Defend the Faith! Watch

Image of St. Athanasius, Bishop and Doctor of the Incarnation

By Deacon Keith Fournier

The Bishop and Doctor of the Church whom we honor today in the Roman Catholic Liturgical Calendar was called the Defender of the Incarnation. This title summarizes a life given over to defending the central Christian claim - about who Jesus is and who we can be - ... continue reading


No Phony Truces in the Battle to Block Most Anti-Life, Liberal Court in a Generation

Image of The United States Supreme Court

By J. Kenneth Blackwell

While much of our attention is on the Presidential race, the looming battle over a Supreme Court nomination merits no less attention.  The battle lines are clear in this nomination and the future of the Court and our Constitutional principles are at ... continue reading


Fr Frank Pavone - Amoris Laetitia: Pope Francis' Encouraging Roadmap for Families Watch

Image of Fr Frank Pavone, National Director, Priests for Life

By Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director, Priests for Life

Amoris Laetitia is a timely and loving exhortation for families towards genuine charity that begins within the nuclear family. It can be described as a new road-map for a culture that has taken a sad and tragic detour. The Joy of Love recognizes women's ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Daily Readings for Wednesday, May 04, 2016
  • St. Florian: Saint of the Day for Wednesday, May 04, 2016
  • Your Daily Inspirational Meme: I fear no evil!
  • St. Matthew HD Video
  • 'Our warriors are everywhere': ISIS uses CHILDREN to threaten Europe
  • Daily Reading for Thursday, May 5th, 2016 HD Video
  • Captain James Cook wreckage discovered!

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 17:15, 22--18:1
15 Paul's escort took him as far as Athens, and went back with ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 148:1-2, 11-12, 13, 14
1 Alleluia! Praise Yahweh from the heavens, praise him in the ... Read More

Gospel, John 16:12-15
12 I still have many things to say to you but they would be too much for ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 4th, 2016 Image

St. Florian
May 4: The St. Florian commemorated in the Roman ... Read More