Mary, Mother of God, 2010

Happy New Year! It is 2010, and I hope and pray for a great new decade. Today is also the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God,  and a time to honor the reality that Mary, as theotokos, bore the God-Man, Jesus Christ, in her womb. Today is also the end of the octave of Christmas, and at one time commemorated the Circumcision of Jesus.

I often get questions about why we call Mary the “mother of God?” Some, unaware of the meaning and history of the term, believe it refers somehow to Mary being the mother of the Trinity. No Catholic, Orthodox, or classic Protestant understands the term “Mother of God” in this fashion. The title “Mother of God” means that Mary bore one person in her womb, Jesus Christ, who had two natures, human and divine. The debate over the term in the 4th and 5th centuries was not so much about Mary’s nature, but about the nature of our Lord. Thus, I include below the definition of Chalcedon, from 451 AD.

We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach people to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood; truly God and truly man, of a rational soul and body; consubstantial with the Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to the Manhood; in all things like unto us, without sin; begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, according to the Manhood; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person and one Subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten, God the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ…