It was during the Christmas Season that we were able to celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God, January 1 on a Sunday. We do celebrate Mary under the title Mary, the Mother of God every year as it is one of our Holy Days of Obligation. It is not so common that we are able to celebrate it on a Sunday.
It is an important day, in that in tells us of the honor and reverence that we give Mary the mother of Jesus. This feast does have a long history. In some ways it seems questionable. How could God have a mother and yet this is the title we have given her in the tradition of the Roman Catholic Church. This discussion on the title took place as early as the third century. What is interesting is that in the Eastern Church the title that was given Mary was “Theotokos” Mary as the Bearer of God. The Western title was “Mater Dei,” Mary, mother of God.
It seems in these early years, that Nestorius, patriarch of Constantinople, rejected the title Mary, Mother of God. He found this to be a form of heresy. He claimed that Mary was only the mother of Jesus. Those who opposed him indicated that in this rejection, he was denying the divinity of Christ. Nestorius was called a heretic and was no longer an archbishop. Eventually, the title as Mary, the Mother of God was confirmed at the Council of Ephesus, as well as Theotokos and finally that was confirmed at the Council of Chalcedon. We honor her under the title, Mary, Mother of God when we pray the “Hail Mary.”
It seems that the title, “Theotokos” the Bearer of God, is a title that we can relate with much more. Aren’t we all called to be “bearers of God?” God is revealed in the world whenever God’s love is revealed. This happens in some very ordinary ways and also some extraordinary ways. By our commitment to love others as Jesus loved, we reveal the goodness and love of God. Together with Mary, we reveal who God truly is.