Who Is Mary, the Mother of God?

In Conversation With God Weekly Reflection
Octave of Christmas: Who is Mary, the Mother of God?

By Francis Fernandez-Carvajal

1/38.1 Holy Mary, Mother of God.

How often have we contemplated Mary with the Child in her arms! And Christian piety has inspired the countless different works of art which represent the feast we celebrate today – the Motherhood of Mary. This fundamental fact casts a light that shines out in the life of Mary. It is the foundation of all the other privileges with which God has wished to adorn her. Today we give thanks and praise to God the Father because Mary conceived his only Son: The Holy Spirit came upon her and she conceived your only begotten Son. Without losing her glorious virginity, she brought forth Our Lord Jesus Christ, who is forever the light of the world![574] And from our hearts we sing to her: Hail Holy Mother, who gave birth to the King,[575] for truly the Mother has brought forth the King, whose name is eternal; she who has conceived has at the same time the joy of motherhood and the glory of virginity.[576]

Mary is Our Lady, full of grace and virtue, conceived without sin, who is the Mother of God and our Mother, and who dwells both body and soul in heaven. Sacred Scripture refers to her as the most exalted of all creatures, the blessed one, the most praised among women, full of grace,[577] she whom all generations shall call blessed.[578] The Church teaches us that, after Christ, Mary occupies the place that is highest and closest to God, because of her divine motherhood. She, after her son, by the grace of God, was exalted over all angels and men.[579] Through you, O Virgin Mary, have been fulfilled all the oracles of the prophets who announced Christ: being a virgin you conceived the Son of God and, remaining a virgin, you gave birth to him.[580]

The Holy Spirit teaches us in the first reading of today’s Mass that when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law ...[581] Jesus did not suddenly appear on earth out of heaven. He became truly man, like us, taking our human nature in the most pure womb of the Virgin Mary. Insofar as he is God, Jesus is generated, not made, by God the Father from all eternity. Insofar as he is man, he was born, was made, of Mary. I am exceedingly astounded, says St Cyril, that there could be anyone who has any doubt as to whether the Blessed Virgin should be called the Mother of God. If Our Lord Jesus Christ is God, why should the Blessed Virgin, who gave him birth, not be called the Mother of God? That is the faith that Our Lord’s disciples transmitted to us, even though they did not use this exact expression. And that too is what the holy fathers have taught us.[582] Thus it was defined by the Council of Ephesus.[583]

All the feasts of Our Lady are great events, because they are opportunities the Church gives us to show with deeds that we love Mary. But if I had to choose one from among all her feasts, I would choose today’s, the feast of the Divine Motherhood of the Blessed Virgin ...
When the Blessed Virgin said Yes, freely, to the plans revealed to her by the Creator, the divine Word assumed a human nature, with a rational soul and a body, formed in the most pure womb of Mary. The divine nature and the human were united in a single Person: Jesus Christ, true God and, thenceforth, true man: the only begotten and eternal Son of the Father and, from that moment on, as Man, the true son of Mary. This is why Our Lady is the Mother of the Incarnate Word, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, who has united our human nature to himself forever, without any confusion of the two natures. The greatest praise we can give to the Blessed Virgin is to address her loud and clear by the name that expresses her highest dignity: Mother of God.[584]

Our Lady will be well pleased to hear us, on this her feast day, repeating many times the aspiration: Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.


[574] Preface of the Maternity of the Virgin Mary

[575] Entrance Antiphon of the Mass

[576] Divine Office, Lauds, Antiphon 3

[577] Luke 1:28

[578] Luke 1:48

[579] Second Vatican Council, Lumen gentium, 63

[580] Magnificat, Antiphon of 27 December

[581] Gal 4:4

[582] St Cyril of Alexandria, Letter 1, 27:30

[583] Dz Sch, 252

[584] St J. Escrivá, Friends of God, 274