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Category Archives: Mary

Why do Catholics call Mary the “Mother of God”

mary-mother2On January 1, the Catholic Church celebrates the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God (Theotokos, “God bearer”, in Greek). This proclamation derives solely from the belief that Jesus Christ is God incarnate (John 1:14, 8:58). It affirms a foundational belief about the doctrine of the Trinity. This follows from simple logic:

  1. Mary is the mother of Jesus Christ
  2. Jesus is God, the 2nd person of the Trinity, of the same substance as God the Father and the Holy Spirit.
  3. Thus Mary is the Mother of God

Many protestants disagree with this title Mother of God and state that Mary was only the mother of the human nature of Christ. To answer that, however, a mother doesn’t conceive and give birth to a nature; a mother gives birth to a PERSON. And the person that Mary, conceived bore and gave birth to is the divine person of God, who took on human form. This naturally follows, since Jesus was truly God from the first moment of His conception. The following passage affirms this:

[Luke 1:31,35] And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. [35] The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy,  the Son of God.

Mary is even called “the mother of my Lord” (Luke 1:43) in Scripture itself. The “Lord” is synonymous with God, thus further providing validation for the title “Mother of God”.

As mentioned above, this title is meant to reflect a Christological truth. This ancient title of “Theotokos” was affirmed by the Council of Ephesus in 431 A.D. in order to combat the heresy known as Nestorianism, which claimed that Christ was united as two distinct persons, human and divine. This differs from the true Christology as affirmed by the Christian tradition that Jesus is ONE person, God, in the form of man.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us!

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Posted by on December 31, 2012 in Beliefs, Catholic, Mary, Theology

 

Mary’s Immaculate Conception and Enmity with Evil

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On December 8, the Catholic Church celebrated the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. Note that this does not refer to the conception of Jesus in Mary, i.e. the virgin birth. This dogma is a belief of how Mary was conceived in her mother’s womb.

The Catholic Church believes in the “Immaculate Conception” of Mary, wherein she is considered unstained from original sin and actual sin. This is not explicitly told in Scripture, but there are several passages that hint it and support this doctrine. Consider this scripture passage:

[Genesis 3:15] I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

The context is after Adam and Eve have sinned and God is punishing the snake. This passage is often spoken as being the protoevangelium or “first gospel” because it is a prophecy concerning Jesus. This “seed” of the woman is Jesus, because he will “bruise” the head of the snake (who represents Satan). Now this “woman” must be Mary as it is her “seed” that is Jesus, since she is his mother.

Now, knowing that the passage refers to Jesus and thus to Mary, we see that God declares there will be an “enmity” between the snake (Satan) and Mary. The word “enmity” can mean “separation” or “total opposition”. Thus we see that Mary will be separated from Satan and sin and will be in total opposition to Satan.

Now consider the following verse:

[Luke 1:28] “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you”

The context of this is where the angel Gabriel greets Mary at the annunciation of Christ. The phrase “full of grace” is translated from Greek word kecharitomene. Now, grace is the very life of God, his Love. So, in other words, Mary is full of God’s love and life. We know that sin is the absence of grace. Therefore, if Mary is full of grace, that means that she is without sin, in opposition with evil.

Protestants will object to this elevation of Mary; that all sin except for Christ. However, this is a fitting doctrine in that it says something about her son Jesus Christ, namely, that she was to be a pure vessel for his incarnation.

 
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Posted by on December 11, 2012 in Catholic, Mary