How the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God actually teaches about Jesus

While science shows our creativity thrives when we are taking a shower, read  Science Explains Why Our Best Ideas Come in the Shower for more information, the Catholic Mass inspires the best thoughts as well.

During the recessional hymn for the Mass for the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God, I had a profound insight. “This song is teaching us much more than about Mary!” I thought. I could not believe I missed the theology in the song. Here are the lyrics to the hymn Sing of Mary, Pure and Lowly:

Sing of Mary, pure and lowly,
Virgin mother undefiled,
Sing of God’s own Son most holy,
Who became her little child.
Fairest child of fairest mother,
God the Lord who came to earth,
Word made flesh, our very brother,
Takes our nature by his birth.

Sing of Jesus, son of Mary,
In the home at Nazareth.
Toil and labor cannot weary
Love enduring unto death.
Constant was the love he gave her,
Though he went forth from her side,
Forth to preach, and heal, and suffer,
Till on Calvary he died.

Glory be to God the Father;
Glory be to God the Son;
Glory be to God the Spirit;
Glory to the Three in One.
From the heart of blessed Mary,
From all saints the song ascends,
And the Church the strain reechoes
Unto earth’s remotest ends.

Mary as Theotokos

In the fourth century, there arose a heresy, or false teaching, that denied that Mary was the mother of Jesus. Named after the bishop Nestorius who promoted this belief, the heresy formally became known as Nestorianism.

The Third Ecumenical Council at Ephesus in 431 declared that Mary is theotokos (the God-bearer). Led by Saint Cyril of Alexandria, the council fathers spoke of Mary as:

“Mother of God, not that the nature of the Word or his divinity received the beginning of its existence from the holy Virgin, but that, since the holy body, animated by a rational soul, which the Word of God united to himself according to the hypostasis, was born from her, the Word is said to be born according to the flesh.” (DS 251).

Mary Mother of God

Catholics honor Mary as mother, and celebrate her motherhood on January 1st because:

Socks Religious
  •  Jesus entrusted us into the care of Mary as our spiritual mother (see John 19:26-27).
  • Honoring the motherhood of Mary reminds us of the humanity of Jesus

“And by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man”

Catholics are to make a profound bow at this line of the Nicene Creed. Why? Does not this give credence to the Protestant claim we worship Mary?

According to St. Louis de Montfort, “We never give more honor to Jesus than when we honor his Mother, and we honor her simply and solely to honor him even more perfectly. We go to her only to lead to the goal we seek—Jesus, her Son.” Mary is not the end. God is the ultimate aim of our focus. We honor Mary because of her closeness to Jesus and her model of holiness.

The last line of the first stanza in Sing of Mary is “Word made flesh, our very brother,
Takes our nature by his birth.” This is referring to the teaching of the Incarnation. Start with Mary. End with Christ.

Incarnation— Jesus is fully human and fully divine

Incarnation icon

Mary is discussed in the first stanza of the song. The second stanza centers around Jesus. On his life, death, and resurrection. True honor and devotion to Mary will always lead to the belief in the Incarnation.

Jesus had to be fully human and fully God in order to be the perfect bridge between God and humanity. A mere human Jesus cannot save. But a solely divine Jesus would prevent us from understanding the fullness of Truth. God stooped to our level to teach us about the truth that God is love.

God is Love—a community of Persons

Mary leads to Jesus (God made incarnate). Jesus teaches us about the Holy Trinity. Recall Sing of Mary’s lyrics. The first stanza talks of Mary. Secondly, we sing about the Incarnation. Lastly, we sing about the teaching of the Holy Trinity:

Glory be to God the Father;
Glory be to God the Son;
Glory be to God the Spirit;
Glory to the Three in One.
From the heart of blessed Mary,
From all saints the song ascends,
And the Church the strain reechoes
Unto earth’s remotest ends.

Mary received into her heart the love of the Holy Spirit. She followed the will of the Father and gave birth to the Second Person of the Trinity. Jesus passed on authority to his Apostles to administer the sacraments to all and to preach the Good News worldwide!

God works in mysterious ways, the Virgin giving birth is the greatest of mysteries, but be on the lookout for other important insights. The processional song at Mass served that purpose for me today. I pray you are open to the working of the Holy Spirit to enlighten you during your next Sunday Mass!

Related Links

Why the Immaculate Conception is Important

Reconciling Mary as Mediator with 1 Timothy 2:5

3 Reasons the Assumption of Mary is a Big Deal

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One thought on “How the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God actually teaches about Jesus

  1. Awesome reflection. I too had a similar moment of enlightenment about Mary as well this year. Mary being the Mother of God is about the nature of God, not the nature of Mary. Saying God has a mother has profound implications, implications that are at the root of Christian theology; namely a God who humbled Himself and became man. It is a very powerful statement indeed.

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