Fr Luke Macnamara OSB
Why celebrate Mary Mother of God, or Theotokos? It is because Mary is Mother of God, that we celebrate her immaculate conception, her birth, her presentation, the annunciation, the visitation, our Lady of sorrows, her immaculate heart, and the assumption. Mary’s role as Mother of God is the foundation for all other Marian feasts and central to understanding what God’s act of sending his son into the world to be born of her implies for us.
With the annunciation, God sends his son into the world to be born of
Mary. The womb of Mary becomes the ark of God’s presence, the
antechamber of Jesus’ entry into the world. The human family created in the image and likeness of God, is recreated by the union of the divine and human natures in Jesus. Through this union we receive the gift of divine adoption. We are no longer to be simply children of the earth, but children of God. How does this happen? God sends the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit that cries “Abba, Father.” Through Jesus’ coming into the world, we are no longer slaves but
heirs, members of God’s household. This Spirit of Jesus is expressed perhaps most fully when we pray to God, which we do at this Mass and later in Jesus’ own words: “our Father”, or “Abba”. The Spirit takes up residence in our hearts, and finds expression in worship, prayer, and love.
Mary might be a model for us. Through celebrating God’s choice of Mary to be mother of his Son, we also celebrate Mary’s acceptance, reflection, and cooperation through faith with this choice. We too quickly romanticise what this involved for Mary – statues or images rarely reflect any shock or surprise. Mary’s acceptance of God’s plan upturned her life. Nothing would be the same again for Mary or for humanity.
Mary started life as someone under suspicion. Her betrothed initially plans to separate from her. Later heavily pregnant, she must travel by foot to be registered. At Bethlehem, there is no room at the inn, and the child is delivered in a stable. Shepherds come with astonishing news of the choir of angels and their message. Mary’s faith, her yes to God, is nourished by her continued listening, observing and pondering with an attitude of faith the promise of peace through the calamities that befall her.
Many of us have lives marked by chaos, some of it self-inflicted, some of it caused by others. The response of Mary to the chaos was to continue to say yes to the Prince of Peace. Our favourite Marian prayer, the Hail Mary, recognises this “yes” and the blessing it brings, “blessed are you among women, and the blessed is the fruit of your womb.” The blessing prophesied in the book of Numbers, which culminates in peace, is now made available to the fruit of every womb. Mary, through your intercession as Mother of God, pray for us sinners and invoke, on this the world day of peace, the gift of your Son’s peace for us and for our world.