Mary, Mother of God

As we begin a New Year today, on this Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God, we turn our gaze toward the Blessed Mother of our Lord who is also our mother and model of faith.

Like us, Mary was a human being who had to struggle to hear and accept God’s word and to grasp the mysterious ways in which he works.  She did so with such consummate fidelity that she is forever the example of what we mean by faith – true, profound faith.

When Mary said, “May it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38) in response to the announcement of the angel Gabriel that she was to be the Mother of God, through her faith she set in motion the divine plan that would lead to the restoration of all that was lost in the Fall and eventually to our salvation through the death and Resurrection of her Son and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Since Jesus is truly God and truly man and Mary gave birth to him, she gave birth to the person who combines the human nature received through Mary and the divine nature received through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Hence the Church did not hesitate to call Mary the Theotokos or “the bearer of God,” a Greek word that the early Church selected to explain the mystery of how God is with us in Jesus Christ.  Like the early Christians, we continue to venerate Mary as the mother of Jesus and therefore the mother of God, who is also the mother of our Church and our mother.

In his new apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (“The Joy of the Gospel”), Pope Francis calls Mary “the mother of evangelization,” whose journey of faith took her from the stable at Bethlehem to the foot of the cross, always helping to bring Jesus to the world and to our hearts.  “As a true mother, she walks at our side, she shares our struggles and she constantly surrounds us with God’s love.”

Like Mary, we can bring Jesus to the world, every day of our lives, by living and sharing our faith with joy.  It is fitting that Pope Francis’s exhortation concludes with a prayer to her:

“Star of the new evangelization,
help us to bear radiant witness to communion,
service, ardent and generous faith,
justice and love of the poor,
that the joy of the Gospel may reach to the ends of the earth,
illuminating even the fringes of our world.

“Mother of the living Gospel,
wellspring of happiness for God’s little ones,
pray for us.

“Amen. Alleluia!”